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Size definitely matters in light-hearted Israeli comedy

Size definitely matters in light-hearted Israeli comedy

A Matter of Size
A Matter of Size

When life hands you lemons, according to the old saying, make lemonade. But what if life hands you lemon cake?

Herzl and his friends are part of a weight-loss club where no one ever seems to make progress, according to the scolding tongue and withering eye of the group leader, who banishes Herzl as a hopeless case and bad influence.

Played with quiet desperation by Itzik Cohen, the plus-plus-sized cook and waiter is the butt of jokes from his boss at the restaurant, who thinks the portly employee isn’t good for the snooty establishment’s image. So Herzl quits. His mother, with whom the 30-something still lives, worries that overeating will be the death of him, as it was — literally — of his father. Even his friends, who are at least as hefty, give him grief in the form of macho banter.

As he awaits that one big break as a chef, Herzl finds temporary employment as a dishwasher in a Japanese restaurant, where he learns about the ancient and proud art of sumo, a sport that fairly cries out for men of his girth. In fact, he is deemed not big enough by his new boss, who trained sumo wrestlers in Japan.

But Herzl believes this is the one thing he can be good at and convinces his buddies to join him. The one fly in the ointment, however, is Zehava (Irit Kaplan), a twice-divorced member of the weight-loss club who is repelled by the men-only world of sumo.

A Matter of Size is somewhat formulaic. Herzl and his friends neatly fit into standard roles of ostensible hero: quiet guy with a secret, regular guy, and annoying guy with the negative attitude who doesn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities. The importance of self-image is also an attempt at political correctness, but a point made sweetly as Herzl and Zehava prove you don’t have to have movie-star looks or be model-svelte to find love and happiness.

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