“Toni Erdmann is a tough film to explain. It aims to confound, to discombobulate, to make you laugh and wonder what exactly you think is so amusing—to re-evaluate things, in short. That’s the goal of both the film and the title character, a parody persona adopted by an eccentric divorced dad to both repel, and earn the love of, his disapproving daughter.
“Describe it in passing, and it might sound like many a fuzzy Hollywood affair, a tale of a prankster father and straight-laced daughter learning to reconnect. But Toni Erdmann draws so much of its humor from refusing to cut away from a scene that might seem irrelevant or boring, or to land on an easy punchline. It’s some new, evolved form of awkward comedy that doesn’t strive to make the audience wince, but rather lives in every joyously strange, unsettling moment.
“The movie is subversive to the last, finding laughs by taking life as it is, from slapstick hijinks to dull boardroom meetings—making it a truly original comic experience.” - The Atlantic