German-Turkish director Fatih Akin’s penchant for over-peppering his plots with contrivance and forced convolution would seem to have found the perfect fit in the high-decibel comic confection Soul Kitchen. Appropriately broad (as opposed to his prior film, The Edge of Heaven, which could have been sketched with more subtlety to make its its we-are-connected narrative glibness at all persuasive), Akin’s new one, concerning a young man’s desperate attempts to keep his roadside restaurant open and thriving amidst many setbacks, is overstuffed, more than a little too pleased with itself, and only occasionally winning. As far as European comedies go, it’s fairly by the numbers, assembling a motley crew of emphatically crazy characters for a rollicking jamboree meant to stand in for the New Europe. For the most part, the tonic goes down easy this time, even as the plot grows increasingly merciless in its compulsion to keep the audience entertained.
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