Tolga Çevik is a fine comedian who blossomed under the wings of Yılmaz Erdoğan’s BKM theater group. Whether he has the charm and charisma to take the lead in his own story idea about a fumbling detective remains a conundrum despite his immense talent.
Directed and co-written by successful ad director Ozan Açıktan, the comedy “Sen Kimsin?” (Who Are You?) boasts quite a few precious moments in which one will roar with laughter thanks to well-timed gags and Çevik’s gullible face, yet, to be honest, one still feels that 105 minutes is a tad too long for a film that has a thin running plotline.
Successful comedies rely heavily on good timing, manifestations of cultural observations and the talents of its performers, and “Sen Kimsin?” meticulously employs all these elements and has quite a high set of production values; yet there is a certain je ne sais quoi that is amiss from this piece of work. Or perhaps there is something that is too abundant -- it plays out like a long-running ad campaign trying to promote a Tolga Çevik brand of comedy as opposed to just delivering a cinematic work. This might not be a bad thing, for at the end of the film you do feel like seeing more of Çevik’s work -- not because you’ve had an extremely unforgettable experience but because the product that’s been shown on the screen seems only like a teaser for something bigger that you would like to consume.
What about the story? Tekin (Çevik) is a penniless private investigator who has no clue about anything in life and has a tendency to cause major disasters. The film opens with a very promising sequence in which Tekin solely ruins a major SWAT operation at a luxury hotel and then accidentally burns down the building. We understand who we are dealing with: the Turkish Pink Panther.
The next day, along comes a rich femme fatale named Suzan (Pelin Körmükçü) who claims that she has lost track of her 20-something daughter Zeynep (Zeynep Özder) and wants Tekin and his hapless partner, İsmail (Köksal Engür), to find the girl. We realize that this lady is cooking up something behind Tekin’s back, for she and her partner in crime, Adnan, have other plans to swindle the poor girl out of her inheritance.
Tekin finds the girl, then loses her to a duo of slimy kidnappers who’ve been hired by the mother and in the meantime falls in love with this stuck-up princess. We end up watching a number of gags in which Çevik’s clueless expression and physical ineptitude cause minor misfortunes for those surrounding him. A scene in which he dresses up as Snow White at a birthday party and ends up horrifying a bunch of kids is one of the priceless moments in which this man’s rather insufferable countenance transforms into hysterical laughter for our benefit.
On a larger scale, “Sen Kimsin?” does become a crowd pleaser, especially thanks to its ensemble cast that includes Toprak Sergen, who does an impeccable job at being an uptight rich boy, and Engür, who enjoys a stint as the concerned and befuddled older companion to Tekin. Özder also does a fine job of performing the damsel in distress with an attitude -- there are some fine situations of comedic banter between her and Çevik.
Çevik deserves credit for trying so hard at his craft and coming up with some ingenuous burlesque moments. The title of the film, “Sen Kimsin?,” is used abundantly throughout the script in different contexts and soon enough becomes the film’s motto. The problem is that the generous use of this phrase in the dialogues tends to become a bit boring and predictable, much like the last 20 minutes of the film.
“Sen Kimsin?” is a decent attempt at physical comedy and burlesque; however, it could have been so much tighter and more enjoyable if it had spent a couple more days in the editing room and if the screenplay allowed for more riskier and outrageous scenes in which Çevik could push his comedic potential further. All there is to do is wait for the next Çevik movie; at least he’s got us on his hook.
(Who Are You?)
Directed by: Ozan Açıktan
Cast: Tolga Çevik, Zeynep Özder, Köksal Engür, Pelin Körmükçü, Toprak Sergen