In Teddy Bear, a lonely Norwegian bodybuilder travels to Thailand in hopes of finding true love.
Dennis (Kim Kold) is a 38 year old bodybuilder living at home with his mother (Elsebeth Steentoft) near Copenhagen, Denmark. He has never had a girlfriend. On a date with a fellow gym member, he seems confused, disoriented, and disinterested. He orders a shrimp cocktail, doesn’t eat it because he’s allergic to shrimp and when asked why he ordered it, replies with “I didn’t think there would be shrimp in it.” One evening, his uncle returns home from Thailand with a beautiful bride. Dennis considers this to be true love, and decides to travel to Thailand himself to find his perfect mate. He also has to hide this from his mother, who disapproves of her son being with anyone but her.
I was not expecting much from Teddy Bear but I was genuinely taken in with the characters, especially Dennis, and the premise. Dennis is a huge guy but he is quite shy and meek. He doesn’t seem interested in much outside of bodybuilding, not even sex. Although his trip to Thailand is seen as sex tourism (something I honestly had no idea even existed and I can’t wait to see what weird Google hits I get from that typing that in this review) and he goes to a brothel, of sorts, he honestly seems to think he will find a woman that will love him. It is genuinely endearing and Kim Kold does a remarkable job for being a non-actor and real bodybuilder.
Teddy Bear is very much a “Sundance-y” film. It is minimalistic, low-key, few characters, and little dialogue but with genuine heart. I was actually reminded very much of Terri while watching Teddy Bear, but I thought Teddy Bear was far more interesting and entertaining. Since Teddy Bear was formed from a short film (linked below), there are times that it feels stretched for the sake of being a full-length, but I was never truly bothered by it.
While it may be hard to track down, Teddy Bear is worth watching if you get the chance. It’s charming and memorable and it may be one of the surprise indie films of the year.
I give it 4 YouTube videos of the short film, Dennis out of 5.