Help, I'm a Boy! (2002) Poster

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Yet another entertaining body swap film
coyets6 August 2006
This film is obviously aimed at a very young age group of, I would estimate, nine to twelve year olds. Nevertheless, it contains enough charm to fascinate, though not enthral, older viewers too. By no means for the first time in the history of cinema, two people swap their bodies by magic. As usual, they are very different personalities, and in this case they have the advantage of being in their formative years. Emma, who is good at school and such a good swimmer that she is being considered for training for the Olympic Games, and Mickey, both played by Sarah Hannemann and Nick Seidensticker, are helped in their plight by their classmate Four Eyes, played by Philipp Blank, who has a very different, more practical character from the leading pair. Before he loses the book of magic which enabled Emma and Mickey to swap bodies, Four Eyes deciphers the fact that they only have fifty-four hours to reverse the magic. Then the magician disappears, making the race against time even more difficult.

The three children playing the leading roles are sufficiently good to give credibility to the three characters, and how they cope with the situations they land up in.

The film is set in Hamburg, and does not fail to show a backdrop of various typical buildings in fairly ordinary parts of the city, the highlight of which is a short visit to Hamburg Dungeon.

Albert Tartov, the magician played by Pinkas Braun, displays even more than the magicians in other films that his magic cannot do everything imaginable. For instance, instead of the usual animals, he has a tortoise, which, of course, does not have quite the mobility of many other creatures.

The other characters do not get much time to develop within the plot, and tend too much towards displaying stereotypes.

Conforming to the main purpose of the body swap genre, Emma and Mickey are helped by the insights their consciousness in someone else's body presents them with, as the plot unfolds. The ending is not entirely predictable, although the direction of the film is relatively obvious.
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Has anybody found logic, please?
przgzr24 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
It seems that the popularity of magics and magicians in movies is still growing. But as it usually happens, the quality of the copies or clones can't be expected to be close to originals. When Boorman's Excalibur was made it was the unique masterpiece of a genius, and nobody tried to imitate it seriously. But now having Harry Potter a top hit for completely different audience, thousands find themselves capable of doing something like that.

A TV movie for kids is often considered to be something unimportant, just to fill some time in program scheme. And the results are adequate. Sometimes I wonder shouldn't an age limit be founded (a kind of MPAA) so nobody elder would be permitted to watch. And a movie like this would be hard to rate.

Good first: The kid actors are above the quality of the movie. Maybe they don't look enough frightened and worried when expected because of the troubles they are in (the director made that situations enough funny so it doesn't bother) but they look as if they were enjoying movie work all the time. The idea had some freshness and some stereotyped characters are not annoying as they would be in movies for older audience.

* some spoilers *

But: This film is further from logic than you can believe any movie could be. And it's not because of magic: if you watch a movie with a magician among main characters, you don't expect reality (especially if you know what it is about). But even magic and magicians must have it's own logic. Just some examples: a talking turtle (!), as slow as a turtle is, leads the magician in the school to find a stolen book. He runs through classrooms, up and down the stairs, but it's the turtle who appears first on the right place. Or, he can't transfer the golden medal from one house to another (a simple task for an experienced magician), but he can make a bad swimmer win the championship to get a new medal!

One biggest remark, and not only to this movie. Why has it become natural (it's nothing new, but it's more often in movies as years go by) that somebody who has no talent, who never tried to do a certain thing, in few days can make success with almost no exercising - dance, sport, music, school exams... A person who never played a music instrument wins the contest, if he never played basketball becomes a star of winning team, or (as in this movie) someone who almost can't swim wins the local championship where most competitors train twice a day for years. And it's always a dramatic finish when he/she scores a goal, plays or sings a winning song etc. Dramatic? No, only boring! Question: what are the others doing if they can be beaten, why are they practicing for years if it's so simple, or what fantastic results could such a person (kid or grown-up, all the same) make if they had trained, lets say, half a year? Sorry, I can cope with it in a Zucker-Abrahams or Mel Brooks movie, but it often happens in a "realistic" movies that don't expect only kindergarten audience.
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Help she is a boy
Horst_In_Translation14 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Hilfe, ich bin ein Junge" or "Emmas Verwandlung" or "Help, I'm a Boy!" or "Verzauberte Emma" is a German 90-minute movie from 2002, so this one has its 15th anniversary this year. The director is Oliver Dommenget and it is definitely one of his more known works as a filmmaker. He is also one of the quite many people who worked on the script here. But sadly, eventually it is a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. This is especially disappointing as this could have been an innocent little fun movie with a solid touch of fantasy, but as a whole I must say they messed it up. Yes there are some solid parts and it is also not a problem that it is a really predictable film and you basically also know exactly what this is about given the title, but all this is perfectly fine if there had been more love to detail here. I will not discuss many scenes in particular, but let us take a look at that swimming pool, swimming competition scene because this was probably the moment when the film hit rock bottom. So much unrealistic things happen in this scene, the close result, the wrong technical aspect, the winner etc. They really sacrificed realism for fake feel-good moments and unauthentic drama there. This was so not necessary. I think the kids are doing a good job and the adults are okay too, even if a German Film Award nomination may definitely have been too much. But I just trust the awards body that Sellem did something more memorable in her other nominated film. Besides her, there are maybe 2 or 3 other known German actors in here that fans of German films will certainly have come across in other projects, like David Kross for example, but either their parts are completely insignificant or they are mostly forgettable. The negative outweighs the positive here and this is not on par with the many strong German kids films from the 21st century. Don't watch.
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Swimming, pancakes, and sorcery....and turtles
Tender-Flesh17 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
We've already got more than a handful of body-swap movies out there in the vein of Freaky Friday, so what's one more? If you hadn't already guessed, this is a German film and as such should be viewed in German with subtitles(unless you're fluent). If you watch the dubbed version, there will be a scene cut out, at least one so I've read, where a character walks into the girls' locker room and you see a half-second's worth of bare breasts. Personally, I don't know what that scene is doing in a kids' movie to begin with, nor do I think 12 year olds should be running around saying curse words for "poop." But, this is Germany and not the States, and kids are subjected to much worse, I suppose.

A boy, Mickey, and a girl, Emma, attend the same school along with their friend, Foureyes(he doesn't wear glasses and even adults call him this name). Without expounding much, Mickey and Emma switch bodies due to a botched spell from a sorcerer's grimoire that Foureyes stole, along with a coat, from a 125 year old sorcerer. Said sorcerer is only marginally good at spellcasting and occasionally gets the spells wrong or forgets the magic words. He also totes around a turtle named Mrs. Lazybones who has a fondness for ham sandwiches and can speak, if you only listen. The rest of the film deals with the attempts of the three children to reverse the spell before the time limit on the spell is up. To further gum up the works, Emma's rival in swim practice learns of their plight and does her best to foil their attempts at spell reversal. It all works out in the end, as you'd expect, with the usual morals and each child learning something about themselves and the other two as a result of the experience.

The effects are not much to speak of, but kids will probably not care as the CGI is about as good as anything you'd see on Nickelodeon live-action shows with effects.
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