The idea of a bodybuilder who’s never had a girlfriend searching for love could almost sound like a farcical sex comedy on the surface. However, Teddy Bearis anything but that. The film, starring real life bodybuilder Kim Kold as Dennis, a 38 year old single bodybuilder who lives at home with his controlling mother is as serious and genuine as you can get.
Dennis is tired of still feeling like a child at home. He tries his hand at the dating scene, where he needs to lie to his mother who he knows wouldn’t approve of him dating, but never has any success. While attending the wedding of his uncle, he sees there love and wants to obtain what they have. His uncle eventually talks him into visiting Thailand, where he met his wife, explaining to him how it’s easier to be social and find love in the foreign land.
When Dennis leaves Denmark and arrives in Thailand, after lying to his mother about where he is going of course, it’s not quite what he had imagined based on his uncle’s stories. He draws attention everywhere he goes, likely due mostly to his size, and finds that the Thai women are too forward (and often come with a price tag). He’s about to give up hope on this venture as well, until he decides to work out at the local gym. There he meets a new friend, an aspiring bodybuilder and becomes attracted to the gym’s owner, Toi.
Dennis knows what he feels for Toi is different than anything he’s felt before, but his lack of experience or knowledge of the Thai customs put a few obstacles in his way. The drama of Dennis falling in love, facing his fears and dealing with his mother play out with sincerity and a realism that make you forget Dennis is a bodybuilder. We realize that he is a person with his own struggles, just like the rest of us.
This film really surprised me. What could have easily been exploitative and a gimmicky comedy, the movie sticks to the story to be a heartfelt drama with a non-conventional main character. The story itself is fairly straightforward, but it’s the character of Dennis that really make the movie stand out. He’s a testament that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Someone who would seem like guy with confidence and fearlessness could really end up being a shy, introverted guy.
Kim Kold really steals the show. Not only does he look the part, but he makes us believe he knows Dennis well. As a man of few words, Dennis speaks mostly through facial expressions. Kold manages to convey everything through his looks and reactions. He really does seem like a big teddy bear, especially when he shows a little grin here and there, which is one of the small characteristics that make us truly feel something for Dennis, and not just look at him as a spectacle.