Magnum and I watched a... different... movie over the weekend. I say "different" for lack of a better word. I couldn't decide right away if I liked it or not, but it kept me thinking about it afterwards, so I appreciate that.
Teddy Bear is the story of Dennis, a bodybuilder in his late 30's who still lives with his mother. He's shy and a bit socially awkward and seems emotionally undeveloped at times. He is portrayed as a very gentle man who is also lonely.
His uncle has recently married a Thai woman, and Dennis notes how happy they seem together. He decides to try his luck with finding a woman for himself in Thailand. He's also aware that his psycho mom wouldn't like him to find a Thai woman - or probably any woman for that matter.
As the movie progresses, we see the almost childlike relationship he has with his mother. While Dennis is a huge man who earns his own money, he is really a "gentle giant" at home with his mother and in general.
During his trip to Thailand (that he lied to his mom about), he is subjected to some really seedy situations, highlighting the sex tourism side of the country. He is clearly uncomfortable in these situations, not so much because of his immaturity, but more because he's just not interested in that lifestyle.
The movie is pretty slow-paced without a lot of dialogue, and viewers really get a feel for his loneliness and discomfort. At one point, while in Thailand, he finds a gym to work out at, and we see how he suddenly feels more "at home" and at ease. He makes friends easily at the gym, and the younger bodybuilders look up to him.
The gym also happens to be owned and operated by a young Thai woman who took over the business when her husband died. She and Dennis begin seeing each other.
The movie is deep, funny, sad, disturbing, slow, happy, sweet, creepy...
Trailer is [here].
I guess I liked it in the end. The problem I had with it, though, stems from Dennis being a bodybuilder. I think it was right to cast such a huge guy in the role because doing so really contrasts his appearance with who he is inside. But at the same time, I thought it incongruent for someone so shy and lacking in confidence to be in a profession that is all about putting oneself on display. His various tattoos also didn't fit the character.
And while I find the science of it interesting, in my humble opinion, bodybuilding is a rather shallow "sport". The scenes of posing practice and the various photos on the walls of Dennis' bedroom made me like Dennis less than I would have otherwise. Maybe if his character was a competetive weightlifter or lumberjack or such instead of a bodybuilder, I would've found it more believable. I still wanted him to be free of his manipulating mom and find happiness, though.
I'll give "Teddy Bear" 3 barbells out of 5.