This week from executive producers Greg and Amy Poehler is the completely unexpected comedy with “Welcome to Sweden: The Complete First Season. ”
Bruce (Greg Poehler) is a successful New York Money manager who has fallen for a beautiful Swedish woman Emma (Josephine Bornebusch). Deciding it’s time for a change in his life, Bruce willingly follows Emma to Sweden, giving up his job and clients — including Amy Poehler.
After landing in Sweden, Bruce is quickly introduced to Emma’s family. Mom Viveka (Lena Olin) is a therapist who might need one of her own, dad Birger (Claes Mansson) is totally in love with his cabin by the lake and retirement, and brother Gustaf (Christopher Wagelin) basically is happy living off his parents.
All too quickly Bruce realizes there are far more adjustments than he could have imagined. From the language to a huge culture clash, he gives it his all with a forced smile at every turn trying to be “Swedish.”
New York doesn’t leave Bruce alone for long as Poehler has trouble with the IRS and wants Bruce back immediately to solve her little problem. When Bruce turns her down, Poehler sends in reinforcements — Aubrey (Aubrey Plaza) who flies to Sweden to turn on her charm.
In the meantime Emma is trying to set up their life while dealing with her parents, who seem to be going through a mid-marriage-crisis. When her father ends up in the hospital through a misunderstanding with Bruce, Bruce decides to go back to New York.
Sometimes going back isn’t the answer.
Greg Poehler is endearing as Bruce with his boyish charm and insecurities. Wanting to do what is right by their relationship, it seems he overcompensates a lot, which brings on the problems. He has such a wide-eyed outlook that even trying to help a guy from the video store find love doesn’t always work in his favor. Trying to be “more” Swedish instead of just being Bruce is his first mistake — even if it’s funny.
Bornebusch as Emma is so sweet and beautiful. Giving Bruce the chance to fit in, she overlooks his silliness even if his family doesn’t. Trying to prove to Bruce that he’s the one being difficult when she’s fighting his insecurities.
Olin as mom Viveka is a wild woman! Going through her own mid-life crisis, she will do anything to get away from the lake house to find more excitement in her life. Giving Bruce a hard time, she’s a mom who only wants what’s best for her daughter.
Masson as Birger is a man who is comfortable living by the lake enjoying his retirement, fixing things here and there. Not in a hurry to do much of anything is what makes his wife Viveka completely crazy. Thinking he is too old to change now, he might surprise even himself.
Wagelin as brother Gustaf is just a big goof ball who doesn’t want his free ride to change! Plaza as Aubrey is a psycho waiting to happen, trying to change Bruce’s mind about staying in Sweden.
Amy Poehler is hilarious as the self-absorbed star who doesn’t have time for anything or anybody but herself. Getting Bruce to save her is a goal she will do anything to obtain. There is also a cameo by Will Ferrell.
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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Welcome to Sweden: The Complete First Season” three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is actually based on the true life story of Greg Poehler, and the rest of us get the opportunity to laugh ourselves silly.
The cast truly has a chemistry that is like a secret in itself, but we get to be in that as well on all the jokes. It is good to see that Swedish families have the same crazy dysfunctions as we Americans. Family, love and misunderstandings are universal and “Welcome to Sweden” proves it.
Having all 10 episodes on the DVD with its 220 minutes it is a lot of fun. I think I saw every possible IKEA product in their apartment. Don’t judge, I like IKEA.
In the end – love is universal and the rest is lost in translation!