Film Review: Sex, Drink & Teambuilding / Jedeme na teambuilding

Sex, Drink & Teambuilding, also known as Jedeme na teambuilding in Czech and Slovak, is a film that epitomizes the contemporary Czech comedy in a way that's as polarizing as it is peculiar. Directed by Zuzana Mariankova, this film follows Aleš (played by Jakub Prachař), an ambitious corporate employee who finds himself demoted to the lowest rung of the corporate ladder—the call center—instead of being promoted. This twist of fate forces him to band together with a group of misfit colleagues, including a conspiracy theorist Marcela (Petra Polnišová), a neurotic nihilist Michal (Vojta Kotek), and the by-the-book Jitka (Anna Polívková), to save their department during a chaotic team-building weekend. The plot unfolds in a manner that could easily make one consider renouncing their Czech citizenship, as hinted by the trailer, just to distance oneself from such grotesque cinematography. The film is an intellectual disaster by most conventional standards, filled with crass humor and absurd situations that defy any rational critique. Yet, here lies its peculiar charm. Personally, I find rating this film challenging because, intellectually, it's horrendous. However, it managed to surprise me—I caught myself laughing uncontrollably at several sequences, laughing so hard that stopping seemed impossible. This reaction was unexpected, particularly because this type of humor is usually not to my taste. It's crass, it's blatant, and yet undeniably effective in its mission to entertain, even when you least expect it. Sex, Drink & Teambuilding serves as a prototype of modern Czech comedy that, despite its lack of subtlety or depth, accomplishes what it sets out to do—provide a release through laughter. In an era where film often takes itself too seriously, Mariankova delivers a piece that asks nothing more of the audience than to sit back and enjoy the ride, regardless of how bumpy or ridiculous that ride may be. As a viewer, if you can set aside expectations for highbrow entertainment, you might find Sex, Drink & Teambuilding a refreshing, albeit mindless, diversion. It is a big piece of nonsense that shouldn't be taken seriously, but sometimes, isn't that precisely what we need? To laugh, to forget the pretenses and, perhaps ironically, to bond with others over something unmistakably foolish. Mariankova, following her previous work "Známí neznámí," does not drastically deviate from her formula, which is arguably the saving grace of this film. Sex, Drink & Teambuilding"is a vivid reminder that sometimes, the best way to deal with the absurdity of life is simply to laugh at it—even if the humor is as crude as the reality it seeks to satirize.

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