Tristian Gobel plays Maik Klingenberg, 14 years old, desperately unpopular, and head over heels in love with an unreachable classmate. Wanting nothing more than to be noticed by his crush, when he isn’t invited to her birthday party he hits rock bottom. The only other peer without an invite is the new student Andrej (Anand Batbileg), best known as ‘Tschick’ (which is also the film’s title in its native territory). While Maik dislikes the Russian as much as the rest of the club, unimpressed by his arrogance and eccentricity, the pair find solace in one another, and decide to set off the summer, to escape from the judging eyes of their school friends – so Tschick hot-wires a car, and they proceed to flee Berlin and make for the countryside, getting themselves in a lot trouble along the way.
This playful road movie affectionately abides by the tropes of the coming-of-age drama, and one that is enriched by the fact our leading duo are just 14 years old. Usually with teen comedies of this nature we’re dealing with ever so slightly older characters, but to have them be younger adds a humour that is born out of the fact they’re even more prone to mistakes, blissfully naïve, and endearing with it – while maintaining a nothing to lose demeanour only a child can have, acting now, thinking later. That being said, not all of the comedy translates, and there’s a handful of jokes with cultural references that will no doubt please a German crowd but go over the heads of anybody else watching.
And yet there is a sense of adventure to this title, which isn’t afraid to take risks. Though it does beg the question of who the target audience is, for you would expect it to be aimed at those the same age as our heroes, and yet there’s material in here too mature for such a young crowd. This may well see this title left in limbo somewhat, unable to attract a true demographic, but with a droll, irreverent wit prevalent, anybody who is a fan of Napoleon Dynamite (an evident inspiration of this film) may just take something away to cherish.