A MAN CALLED OTTO – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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A Man Called Otto opens with Tom Hanks at the checkout in a DYI megastore complaining to the employees that he is being charged for stuff he’s not buying. This is meant to make him look like a crank, but… he’s right, and he is — very politely — making the excellent point that stores should not charge you for stuff you’re not buying. A bit later he is exasperated to discover that, yet again, his neighbors are putting the wrong things into their street’s common recycling bins, which are very clearly marked with regards to what goes where. And, again: he’s not wrong about this. Is it really so much to expect that grown-ass people will put things where they belong for the greater good of all?

I’m not sure the film ever hits on anything that Otto is being truly unreasonable about, which kinda deflates the premise of the story, which is that Otto is allegedly such a preposterous grump that other people have trouble liking him, but that somehow, their persistent and, I guess, unexpectedly cheerful kindness will eventually bust through his irascibility and save him from his life of angry aloneness. Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her AWFJ.org archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).