Zero Motivation Review - A Clever, Amusing Comedic Drama of Life Inside The IDF

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“Zero Motivation,” from Zeitgeist Films, brings to the screen a witty, satirical, award winning, comedic drama of life for a regiment of female soldiers as they invent ways of passing the mandated time in the Israeli Defense Forces.

 

Directed by Talya Lavie, “Zero Motivation” stars Dana Ivgy, Nelly Tagar and Shani Klein, as the female unit of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) with Heli Twito and Meytal Gal.

“Zero Motivation” opens as two soldiers, women, no more than 21, looking more like they are returning to university after a beach weekend than heading to a military installation outpost, make their way to this pop-up micro city in the middle of the barren, bleach white, desert.

More like an extended sleep away camp and less like military duty the handful of girls in “Zero Motivation” are still struggling with the monotony of the regiment.

Stationed at a combat post, the only action the women are seeing is the humorous countdown to crazy as they are mandated to two years of military service. Each seems to be having adjustment issues as they are regulated to administrative and serving positions.

Assigned to administrative duties our team Daffi and Zohar, are soul mates who have been able to keep each other from dying of boredom with their unusually resourceful methods of really doing nothing at all.

Daffi, played by Nelly Tagar, is obsessed with transfer to Tel Aviv, life would be better, the air sweeter, every issue and problem would evaporate in the cosmopolitan lifestyle of a Tel Aviv solider, where she can see herself, cat walking across the boulevard in her uniform, Louboutins and matching bag. She is a cosmopolitan solider stuck in the assignment from hell and no one can see it!

Zohar, her partner in this solider sorority, played by Dana Ivgy, an Israeli Academy Award winner, is simply irrevocably bored. A day tripper into the military every day is one less day, closer to the end.

The two are party girls, in an office where even the most basic administrative tasks are difficult. The queen of the computer games, Zohar, is stuck in limbo and obsessed in the testosterone charged element for sex. She isn’t looking for love, although a tide me over, almost a vacation man to get her through her desert engagement would be acceptable.

As it is she is stuck, alone, a subordinate to Rama, played by Shani Klein, a motivated female officer among the ranks of the serious IDF men and she, with hopes of a military career is left to tend to the children assigned to run or ruin her office.

The two are admin nightmares, with a Lucy and Ethel comedic touch; they destroy almost everything they touch even without trying. Paperwork senses they are approaching and evaporates, the shredder never dies, and the staple gun becomes the high noon standoff when the two have a falling out.

Tagged Private Benjamin meets M.A.S.H. The girls are bored, lonely, with zero motivation, and subject to rules . . . which becomes the downfall.

It is funny, sardonic, humorous and mocking and there are moments of genuine concern as the drama in our comedic drama appears as PTSD shows up after an infiltrator, a lovelorn female follows her officer fling to the base, impersonate a soldier, confronts him and confesses undying affection to which he rejects. She distraught commits suicide.

Our core team not knowing how to respond believes her ghost has remained to assist them as they navigate the male soldiers.

“Zero Motivation” is funny, entertaining, comical and droll as the girls all find a way to get what they want no matter the length. An amusing look at life in the IDF, although safe to assume not accurate, with a sprinkle of seriously handsome men is enough to make a women want to enlist or at least think about it.

“Zero Motivation,” In Hebrew with English subtitles, depicts a suicide and has male full frontal scenes with movement.

“Zero Motivation,” the Best Narrative Winner and Nora Ephron winner at the Tribeca Film Festival, is playing in select cities. In New York, “Zero Motivation” can be seen at the Film Forum.

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