Finding the funny in The Fuhrer was no small job for director David Wnendt. Taking a horrific, unsalvageable scum of history and throwing him into the modern world in a Borat-like implementation has all the obvious responses. Those many that loathe the horrors of history and the few that may try and reason with a political figure from the past. Look Who’s Back feels somewhat toothless at times but it is hard to drag up a historic figure everyone knows of and make it at all convincing that he is, indeed, back. Credit to Wnendt though, he knows as much and the impersonation of that figure dealing with anything from plastic-wrapped processed grain to political parties is a tad empty but generally fun.
For history buffs and those fascinated by the broad humour that can come from mocking Hitler, there is much fun to be had with Look Who’s Back. Lampooning historic figures is nothing new, not at all for the crazed and horrific dictator present here. The Great Dictator and all the grand interjections of war movies are documented here as though they are part of the fiction, taken down by the real terror. Look Who’s Back has some horrific pacing to it at times but it is all for the sake of comedy and the irreverence and lack of care it has for those storytelling moments is respectable. Wnendt has one goal in mind, and it is to make his audience laugh, although it does feel a little underwhelming at times.
Aligning Hitler with the Green Party works as a knock against the expected punchline, but scenes of a buddied-up road trip do not. Oliver Masucci is the man holding all of this together. His caricature and comedic timing are the driving force of this feature, the reactions around him are secondary and could be showcased by anyone. Very real reactions are not funny but speak to the core of German politics and the strong warning off they have of that part of their history. Humour comes in many forms and rattling the cage is what Look Who’s Back tries, and often fails, to do. It is funny in its moments, isolated from the real people around it. Obviously staged moments are far stronger than those real-world exhibitions. Light and frequent commentaries are made, most of it on the political image and how puff pieces can be coordinated by anyone.
Much of the humour plays off on the out-of-touch politician attempting to get a grip on Mr. Starbuck and all the modern intricacies of the world. Never taking itself too seriously until a confused and barbaric ending tries to piece Look Who’s Back together as something with an overarching point, it is good fun for what it is. Light enough to work for the moments that showcase scripted and staged comedy, dependent on Masucci when not. Particularly poor when it introduces love interests, careerist moments for supporting characters and a useless series of occasions that do not come together but are enjoyable for the segments they are. Television skit comedy is the form this takes, and not intentionally. It works, but not as the biting satire it hopes to be.