LGBT Movies: Fashion Victims (2007)

Fashion Victims (aka Reine Geschmacksache) sends a bitter salesman and his closeted son on a road trip. Dad (Edgar Selge) alienates his family and customers with his smug lectures. The son (Florian Bartholomäi) resents the quest until he meets a handsome rival salesman (Roman Knizka). The first half overplays the dads’ misanthropy. He’s not funny. He’s just mean. Things improve immensely when the son takes focus. The likeable lad grows in ways his father cannot.

Let’s break it down in a spoiler filled recap.

Act One: Dueling Protagonists

Scene One: A Sales Meeting
DAD (An aging salesman): These skimpy clothes are disgusting. My clients are mature women!
RIVAL (A hot younger salesman): Then offer them your old stuff. I’ll sell the new line and keep the commission.  

Scene Two: Driving Miss Daisy
COP: Speeding again? I’m suspending your license for a month.
DAD: Son, you have to drive me on this trip or we’ll go broke.
SON (A surly twink): But I‘m going to Spain for the summer!
DAD: Not anymore you brat.
SON: You suck dad.
MOM: Honey, before you go could you re-tile the bathroom?

Scene Three: Dry Cleaners
RIVAL: They ruined my shirt!
SON: I write horoscopes. Yours says the day will get better. It also says that my scenes with you will be the best part of this film.
RIVAL: You’re cute.
(Rival writes his number on the shirt and gives it to the Son.)

Act Two: Death of a Salesman  

Scene Four: Clothing Stores
DAD: Remember to smile.
SON: Whatever.
DAD: You’ll love our classic style.
VENDOR 1: I’ve already bought your new line.
DAD: You’ll love our classic style.
VENDOR 2: Boring.
DAD: You’ll love the classic… What’s HE doing here!
RIVAL: Winning. Try the 38 ma’am.
VENDOR 3: Lovely.
DAD: He switched the labels you fool. You’re a size 42.  
(She slaps him.)  
SON: Dad, stop.  

Scene Five: Home Sweet Home
RIVAL: I snuck into your room. Romantic right?
SON: Umm… You’re staying next door?
RIVAL: At the bed and breakfast. Are you legal?
SON: IMDB says I’m 20 and you’re 37. So, let’s make out. (They do.)
DAD: (through the door.) Good work today son. We’re going to screw that phony.
RIVAL: He’s your dad? Yikes! (Flees.)
MOM: Won’t someone please re-tile the bathroom?

Act Three: The Gays Keep Winning   

Scene Six: Bed and Breakfast
RIVAL: I’m sorry for the trouble I’ve caused. Want some coffee?
SON: Oops. I spilled it. My clothes are aaall wet. (He strips. They have sex.)
DAD: Rival’s here!? I’ll steal his merchandise.
RIVAL: Give them back!  
(Dad and Rival brawl in Dad’s car. They crash into a pond. Son fishes them out.)
SON: Dad, give me the clothes. Rival, give me your car. This is my movie now.

Scene Seven: Another Clothing Store
SON: I’m gay. And in love with your rival.
DAD: I’ve lost everything. Even your college fund.
SON: Then we’d better make some sales. Remember to smile.
(Son charms the client. Dad looks on in amazement.)  
DAD: Let’s re-tile that bathroom.


Home Improvement

Dad’s right about one thing. The new clothes are cheaply made. They fall apart in the wash. That’s no excuse for his homophobic, fat-phobic and misogynistic comments. The scenes where he insults his female customers are hard to watch. The writers (Ingo Rasper and Tom Streuber) pile humiliations upon him but these are rarely funny. His last-minute attempt at reform rings hollow.

The son’s arc is gradual. He’s angry and closed off at the start. By the end he’s confident and compassionate. Florian Bartholomäi’s performance won him awards at the Undine’s and the Max Ophüls Festival. He’s been steadily working since. If the father/son relationship was more compelling, or the romance more developed, the film would would be easy to recommend. Right now, it’s a garment that doesn’t quite fit.

You can find more of my reviews on The Avocado, Letterboxd and Serializd. My podcast, Rainbow Colored Glasses, can be found here.