Tuesday, November 15, 2011


11th Israel Film Festival
Greenbelt 3, Cinema 5

"A Matter of Size" is a comedy about four overweight Israelis who quit their diets, embrace their weight and take up sumo wrestling under the grudging instruction of a Japanese restaurateur. When newly fired Herzl takes a dishwasher job at a Japanese restaurant and discovers sumo culture, it gives everyone new purpose – or at least something to do.

The film has its amusing moments as the four friends take up a sport where being fat is honored instead of ridiculed. Likewise it is highly emphasized that 'sumo is not just about being fat', it is a well defined albeit complicated art.

Shots of them, clad only in their bright red fighting mawashi, as they jog through green fields, perform the graceful ritual warm-ups, and strain to push one another out of an improvised wrestling ring in the forest are ludicrously funny and beautiful.

Beyond the physical training, the film also forces the characters to confront their buried psychological issues. Subplots involving infidelity and sexual orientation with a tinge of romance work to support the main theme of self-acceptance. It does capture the essence of Israeli Jewish humor with dialogue such as "even on a diet, you have to eat," and "with your mouth, we only talk."

"A Matter of Size" has its entertaining moments, but sadly never gets beyond that, with a sappy yet very flat ending to a premise that had so much potential. Its storyline mirrors a bit too much like "The Full Monty" but sadly is not enough to replicate that British film's charm and wit.

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