Simon J. Berger, Goran Forsmark, Saga Garde, Anki Larsson
"Instead of Abracadabra" Review
Carried largely by the leading performance by Simon J. Berger, "Instead of Abracadabra" may very well be this year's most purely comical short film entry with its "Napoleon Dynamite" style humor wrapped around a quirky young man (Berger) who aspires to being a magician while his befuddled family sits by wishing he'd simply find himself a job.
After running into a nurse neighbor following a rather misfortunate magic trick experience, our magical misfit becomes determined to impress this said nurse by performing at his father's 60th birthday party.
"Instead of Abracadabra," is a Swedish film and carries the trademark Swedish embracing of uniqueness and novelty into a character who would feel right at home in "Napoleon Dynamite," "Hot Rod" or any other of a myriad of Hollywood's misfit films. As the wannabe magician, Simon J. Berger is a revelation of comic restraint and timing, coming off as a mix between Jon Heder and Jemaine Clement's antisocial misfit in the underappreciated "Eagle vs. Shark."
Writer/director Patrik Eklund has a strong knack for telling a rather basic story in fresh and vibrant ways, and his editing of the film keeps everything moving along quite nicely over the film's 22-minute runtime. David Grehn's camera work has sort of a psychedelic flow to it adding to the rather fluid, non-forming aura of the film.
While "Instead of Abracadbra," which gets its name because our magician prefers to use the word "Chimay!" rather than "Abracadabra," is likely too light to be considered a serious contender for the 2010 Oscar, it is a delightful and fresh entry and a great example of the new cinematic visionaries coming out of Sweden.