This little comedy is one of the biggest box office hits of all time in its native Romania. And it’s easy to see why. It’s the story of three friends who buy a couple of lottery tickets and hit it big. Six million euros big! Only wrinkle in their millionaire dream is that the one keeping the tickets is robbed. And that kicks the trio into gear to track down the thieves before they cash in. What follows is a humorous buddy odyssey that revels in the absurdity of modern Romanian society.

The story kicks off with three friends hanging out in a scuzzy bar in a small Romania backwater. Dinel (Dorian Boguta) is a mechanic who’s obsessed with finding enough money to bring his wife home from Italy where she’s working, convinced she’s about to leave him for her rich boss. Sile (Dragos Bucur) is a carpenter who likes to gamble and has run up a significant tab at the bar. He convinces Dinel that one good bet will solve his problems. Dinel doesn’t have quite enough for the tickets so they ask Pompiliu (Alexandru Papadopol) who’s a civil servant and a conspiracy theorist to kick in a few euros. They agree to split the winnings, should there be any, three ways.

A few nights later, Dinel is coming home and is held up in the lobby of his apartment building. Two thieves make off with is fanny pack (known here as a bum bag.) He’s humiliated but doesn’t give any thought to the ticket until they win. The three of them head to the police who are less than helpful when they hear the story. “We’ll immediately send a forensic team to inspect the place, then we’ll close the borders and contact INTERPOL,” one of them laughs.  And so the three become detectives. And their first stop is the apartment building, where they interrogate the occupants, including a group of slacker drug dealers, a fortune teller, a little girl, and a couple of prostitutes. And they do find a clue, which sends them on to Bucharest.

The plot is not as important as the journey, which slowly reveals the characters of the three men as well as their bond. Pompiliu may be the most successful of the bunch but he’s controlled by his beliefs in grand conspiracies. Dinel may not be the brightest bulb, but he’s got a big heart. And Sile just wants to chat up the ladies. It’s a smart and funny script with great performances. And I can totally see this feel good comedy being snapped up for an American remake.  I just hope people see the original first. It’s a fun romp!

In theaters and virtual cinemas now.





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