What is a cynic other than a failed romantic? Director Hannes Holm adapts Fredrik Backman’s popular German novel about a know-it-all curmudgeon (Rolf Lassgård) who, after being let go from 43 years on the job, turns his attention to the project of making the lives of his fellow condo association members into a living hell. Flashbacks — Ove is played by two different actors in the early stages of his life — show us how the jagoff earned his stripes. It starts well, but the deadpan humor quickly runs out of gas. What would have worked in a 20-minute short is stretched thin by a running gag involving several comedically botched suicide attempts (Ove returns the frayed rope to the store he purchased it from), a syrupy romance with his ill-fated wife (Ida Engvoll), and a resolution that takes a lethal turn for the sentimental. All this makes it difficult to muster much enthusiasm. (2015) — Scott Marks
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