With its stock characters and low-expectation high jinks, the German import "What a Man" could have been fabricated on the Hollywood rom-com assembly line.
The directing debut of screen star Matthias Schweighöfer, who also co-scripted and plays the lead, fits all too neatly into a familiar mold: In romantic crisis, a milquetoast does a bunch of stupid things on the way to finding true love and locating his spine.
The formulaic aspect wouldn't be a problem, though, if the material (co-written by Doron Wisotzky) generated any hilarity. A movie that ostensibly questions stereotypes about masculinity, it abounds in clichés.
The Frankfurt settings lend little texture to the ultra-generic romp, which finds nice-guy schoolteacher Alex (Schweighöfer) discarded by his ice-queen cartoon of a girlfriend (Mavie Hörbiger), who prefers the kinky assertiveness of their upstairs neighbor (Thomas Kretschmann).