When the cast of a movie is mentioned only by their first names, it can only mean two things: either you’re watching a porn movie or a film with musicians. And a title like “Give gas, I want fun” doesn’t exactly help clarifying which of the two you’re watching. Which may explain why the English title of this film is Hanging Out. Which… come to think of it… may also be a sexual reference.
But no, dirty mind, Gib gas, ich will Spass is not smut, but a music film with Markus and Nena. The former a highly successful pop star, the latter an unknown pop star. And now, a quarter of a century later, the roles seem to be reversed. Because there’s a lot of chance you know Nena from her global hit “99 Luftballons” (a.k.a. 99 Red Balloons), but who is Markus? Think of Patrick Wolf who is accidently teleported to the 1980s and – these teleportations never go great, just watch The Fly – discovers his poppiest of sounds. Mind you, this film was made in 1983, when Germany found its new voice and answer to punk and new wave by inventing the Neue Deutsche Welle (literally New German Wave). Back in 1982, “Ich Will Spass” by Markus might have been refreshing rather than annoying. Make up your own mind because this is Markus’s biggest hit and the title track of the film (as performed in a music show where the average age of the viewer was 56):
So he wants fun, our Markus. And he’ll get it in this film as he’s the new boy in school, short trousers but a fast bike. Because rebellion, like a mullet, doesn’t grow in one day. Markus, who plays Robby, has the hots for Tina, as portrayed by Nena. Tina finds Robby silly rather than sexy and has more sexual feelings for Tino, who works full time on a fair and has his own convertible. And a mullet. And – what would romance be without language? – because Tino and Tina sounds cool.Tina convinces Tino to run off together, but when she can’t make it to the rendez-vous spot in time, Tino drives off with another chick. Her suitcase already packed and hoping to see Tino again, Tina convinces Robby to drive away together. Robby, naive enough to think Tina loves him as much as he loves her, gladly accepts. Tina’s feelings towards Tino are addressed in one of Nena’s biggest hits Nur geträumt: “Ich hab’ heute nichts versäumt, denn ich hab’ nur vor dir geträumt” (I haven’t wasted today, because I only dreamt of you). Don’t believe me, here’s the clip from the English dubbed version of the film:
And, of course, the search for Tino will ultimately end in Tina losing her heart to Robby. Seems like a sugar sweet teen flick, how can this be of any value to the cult-loving readership of DV? Well, there are several reasons: no matter how bad this film can be – and believe me, this will be a guilty pleasure – it’s nowhere as embarrassing as Crossroads or most of Madonna‘s output. The director is Wolfgang Büld, who had previously made a couple of documentaries about punk and reggae. Büld had noticed the Neue Deutsche Welle movement was becoming more mainstream and felt like pushing the genre by making a teen flick with the movement’s protagonists in several of the roles. Apart from Markus and newcomer Nena in the leads the film also included a cameo by the band Extrabreit.
Nevertheless, the film is pretty weak in as much as the ‘story’ is flimsy (it’s basically Robby and Tina driving after Tina’s love interest you couldn’t care about) and the jokes are either silly or horrible: one running gag is Tina’s classmate, seen in the clip above, who is always eating meat products. It’s not that I explained it badly, that’s what he does: he mainly boasts about how much he loves eating sausages and how many he can eat. I’ll pause briefly, so you can chuckle at this hilarious concept. A boy who eats fried meat… utter and utter genius! Equally hilarious is having older actor Karl Dall play a handful of tiny roles, in an attempt to make the viewer chuckle “Look, it’s Karl again, ha-ha!” And of course it doesn’t help that it’s a movie that’s mainly made to push the music. In the following clip, Robby and Tina have made it to the airport, just too late to catch Tino. Tina manages to make contact with him and they agree to meet each other in Venice. After this, Nena has to link the fluttering Tina running back to Robby to one of her songs (Ganz oben). The result, complete with a hilarious drunk pilot, looks like this:
Which makes it all the more surprising to see Robby and Tina end up in Venice. While arguing, Robby is abducted by a group of nymphomaniacs (I wish I was making this up) and Tina chases the gondola on foot, with Nena’s Tanz auf dem Vulkan as soundtrack to the scene. But watch at (or fast forward to) 2:47 to spot a surprising cameo…
Admit that this is a cameo you wouldn’t have expected in such a bubblegum movie. Ultimately, Carla Rhode of Der Tagesspiegel reviewed the film best: “I would have like to have fun too, but Nena, Markus and director Wolfgang Büld left me unsatisfied. What did the film attempt to be? A story about runaways, a musical or was it just a handful of uninspired scenes chucked together to fill the voids between songs by Nena and Markus?” Then again, I told you this would a guilty pleasure and it’s up to you whether a couple of Nena songs, Nena’s nude back and a reference to Don’t Look Now are enough to watch a corny movie for 85 minutes. Not that the film pretended to be Goethe. After all, the title is Gib Gas, Ich Will Spass.
P.S. Büld must’ve liked the experience because, two years later, he made Der Formel Eins Film, an equally corny film promoting Formel Eins (the German Top of The Pops) and featuring a.o. Falco (Jeanny, Rock me Amadeus, …)