Zero Motivation (2014)
Starring: Dana Ivgy, Nelly Tagar, Shani Klein, Heli Twito, Meytal Gal, Tamara Klingon
Directed By: Talya Lavie
Written By: Talya Lavie
Rating: UR (US) Running Time: 1 hr 37 min
Organized into three distinct sections (The Replacement, The Virgin and The Commander), Zero Motivation follows Zohar (Dana Ivgy) and her best friend Daffi (Melly Tagar) as they serve out their mandatory two-year service in the Israeli army. Which for them entails a lot of mind numbing office work, under the watchful eye of their gung-ho career focused boss, Rama (Heli Twito).
Billed as a war comedy, you’d expect a movie like this to tread a careful line between the laughs, and the serious business of war. As many productions like this have managed to do over the years. I’m thinking mainly of excellent TV shows like M*A*S*H and Blackadder Goes Forth, and to a lesser degree, cool films like Stripes and Private Benjamin.
Zero Motivation however, plays a little too safe. The cast of characters, while nicely performed by all, are mostly unlikable. A collection of personalities ranging between obstinate and selfish. And the film has very few lighter moments showing us the kind of camaraderie you’d expect from a group of peers suffering through a tough situation together. You’d honestly expect their base to be an easy target, as I doubt any of these ladies would lift a finger to help!
Zero Motivation is a ‘dramedy’ that prioritizes drama. Leaving the predictable situation comedy to play second fiddle. Delivering less than a handful of fun surprises to break up the mostly dour tone of the film.
Despite what I think about this film, you should know it has been very well received by other critics. Scoring a high 84% on RottenTomatoes.com. It also won several Israeli Film Academy awards. So while it wasn’t my cup of tea, it might be yours. This movie is unrated, but I suspect it would get an R rating here in the US for language, sexual content and brief nudity.
This is a decently made film, but not especially visual, and would be serviced well enough in HD on any device you care to watch it on.
Best Moment: << mild spoiler >>
There was one moment in this movie that had me laughing out loud. Zohar and Daffi get into an argument, and then a full-blown fight when Daffi starts deleting Zohar’s precious Mindsweeper scores on the computer. This results in a mini-office war, and two heavy-duty staplers are deployed with hilarious results!