Eila, Rampe and Baby Girl (2015) / Comedy-Romance
aka Eila, Rampe ja Likka

MPAA Rated: Not rated, but would be PG-13 for language
Running Time: 94 min.

Cast: Heidi Herala, Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, Emmi Parviainen, Riku Nieminen, Leena Uotila, Eila Roine, Pirkko Hamalainen, Carl-Kristian Rundman, Asa Wallenius, Yuko Takeda
Director: Taru Makela
Screenplay: Sinikka Nopola, Tiina Nopola

Review published February 2, 2015

Finnish author Sinikka Nopola (Ricky Rapper and Cool Wendy, Ricky Rapper and the Bicycle Thief) adapts characters created from her own series of books, along with her sister Tiina (with whom Sinikka also co-authors a series of children's' books), into a charming family comedy.  The characters will be familiar to those who've read the book series, but this one is based on a Nopola's 2005 play of the same name.

Likka (Parviainen, The Princess of Egypt) is a 30-year-old poet who is in a relationship with a higher-class young man named Pirkka (Nieminen, 21 Ways to Ruin a Marriage), with whom she can barely tolerate any longer (she hates his 'unmanly' use of certain words) and has been mulling breaking things off with.  Likka's parents are stubborn mother Eila (Herala, Gloriously Wasted) and mild-mannered father Rampe (Petelius, 8-Ball), cohabitating with her during the summer in their humble cottage, and are hoping that obstinately picky Likka will just get married and move on.  When Pirkka's mother Kaarina (Uotila, Road North) intends to visit, Eila ends up pretending to live in the upscale villa owned by her well-to-do neighbors, who've just embarked on a vacation, in order to impress her and get her blessing on the marriage.  A comedy of errors ensues as they all try to keep spinning wild yarns to keep Kaarina from suspecting they're not who they claim.

Heidi Herala, who played Eila on a couple of occasions before in adaptations for the stage, does a very fine job in a comedic role as Eila, the matron who is always complaining about something to those she loves, but bends over backwards to impress upon outsiders that their family unit is a class act.  Actually, all of the cast is very good, and the story, which very much feels like a mild but spirited farce that one can easily guess had been adapted from the stage, is charming and convivial in a way that should please most crowds.

Though a slight comedy, the storyline does explore the nature of relationships and family, and how the apple doesn't really stray very far from the tree (there's even a three-generation rule when it comes to personality traits, it seems).  Eila's mother and daughter all share the ability to henpeck those around them, while Rampe makes the relationship work by just saying as little as possible, except perhaps to agree, and just do his own thing when Eila's not around.  It also looks at the nature of class in Finland (though it is kind of universal), and how the perception of wealth and upbringing (and whether their toilet is indoors or outdoors) can taint someone's feeling about the other person, regardless of who they truly are inside.

Directed by Taru Makela (The Storage, The Nurse), Eila Rampe and Baby Girl always stays true to its source by keeping things light and comical, but by also drawing upon the magical and whimsical nature of the beautiful Finnish country side.  If you like pleasant, old-fashioned stories of the folly and farce of family dynamics, this one is goes down as easy (and absurd) as Dom Perignon and caviar on a warm summer's day.

Qwipster's rating:

2015 Vince Leo