Fox and His Friends
Facts and Figures
Run time: 123 mins
In Theaters: Monday 2nd February 1976
Distributed by: New Yorker Films
Production compaines: Tango Film, City Film
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 2
IMDB: 7.7 / 10
Fox and His Friends Review
Rainer Fassbiner directs himself in the lead role of Fox, a light-headed loser employed as a "talking (decapitated) head" for the circus. Obsessed with the lottery, he doesn't quite know what to do with himself when he actually wins, but a gaggle of mostly-gay cronies who glom onto him soon after help out in that regard.
What follows is straight out of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town or Brewster's Millions, though it's not played for laughs. Rather, Fox's journey is a sad one, where he is constantly taken advantage of; when he isn't losing his money, he's losing what's left of his heart.
Unfortunately, Fox's journey downward is more of a straight shot than a spiral. There's not a lot of originality when he's coerced into bad business deals, buys fancy clothes, or is scolded for not using a fork at an upscale restaurant. His descent into melancholy is unsurprising but still unsatisfying, namely because his character is so stupid he teeters on hateful. He's certainly unsympathetic; it's the same syndrome that likely affected those who didn't care for Forrest Gump. Not that there's any further similarity between the two movies.
Fassbinder reportedly called Fox his "most honest film," but I'm not sure what that means. If he was unhappy with celebrity (and I'm no expert on his life), the movie may be "honest," but it strikes me as holly and a bit of a cop-out. There's no real attempt to deal with the problem of sudden wealth and those who attempt to scam the suddenly wealthy. Fox is a pathetic loser who almost deserves what he gets. He's not a hero and he's not a villain. He's just there. Taking up space.
Aka Faustrecht der Freiheit (literally Fist-Fight of Freedom).