The Netherlands 2010
Starts April 11
Directed by: Arne Toonen
Writing Credits: Mischa Alexander, Wijo Koek, Luuk van Bemmelen
Cast: Michael Nierse, Fiona Livingston, Nils Verkooijen, Eva van der Gucht
Length: 85 minutes
Dik Trom lives in Pummelstadt ("chubby city") where the jolly residents are interested in good food, even proud of a few extra pounds. This is expressed in a children’s contest: who can make the biggest splash into the swimming pool? Naturally, Dik wins. His round parents have the opportunity to exchange their successful hot dog stand for a restaurant in Dünnhausen ("skinny village"). What culture shock? Here the people are, naturally, dangerously underweight, sip diet drinks, work out and wear pastel-colored clothing. Even the houses are mostly white and everything is completely orderly. Dik’s father does not understand why there are no customers for his delicious food. His mother reacts more quickly and thinks about offering low-calorie food, as well as eating less after a disastrous visit to a boutique to try on clothes. Dik’s classroom teacher is probably the town’s second-most prejudiced inhabitant; she has no understanding for a chubby boy and even supports his classmates in their bullying. The town’s most prejudiced inhabitant is Sonia, the diet queen. Unfortunately, she is the mother of Liesel, whom Dik has fallen in love with. Handsome, successful, self-confident Dolf runs the fitness studio next to their restaurant. His string-bean-thin son Victor is the worst bully and also in love with Liesel. Dik’s father, in an effort to help, makes his son healthy school lunches: carrots, for example, which in reality is marzipan to look like carrots. The film ends as it has begun with a village-wide contest.
This children’s film showed at many children’s film festivals. It is entertaining, while sending the message that everyone must be accepted in spite of differences and everyone has something to offer because of these differences. I wondered if all the fat child actors are really fat or sometimes padded. Where did director Arne Toonen find so many very skinny children? All of the actors are excellent, but Michael Nierse as Dik especially carries his weight in holding the film together. His mother, played by Eva van der Gucht reminds us of our own jolly friends trying to make everyone happy. The scenes of lavish food spread out on the table would make anyone forget all thoughts of a diet. Diets are not important; people are important. ()