A MATTER OF SIZE (Sharon Maymon, Erez Tadmor). 90 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (March 25). See listing. Rating: NNN
There's an uneasy moment in A Matter Of Size when the film seems about to settle for easy, culturally awkward laughs at the idea of fat Israelis in sumo costumes. And then it pushes through that and finds something deeper on the other side.
Having failed at various weight-loss strategies, four desperate friends in the town of Ramle join an obesity support group, to no avail. But when withdrawn Herzl (Itzik Cohen) takes a job at a Japanese restaurant and discovers sumo culture, it gives everyone new purpose - or at least something to do.
Directors Sharon Maymon and Erez Tadmor avoid the temptation to remake The Full Monty, focusing instead on how physical training forces the characters to confront their buried psychological issues.
That said, the nuts and bolts of the plot could have used a little more thought. A subplot about Herzl hiding his sumo training from his new girlfriend (Irit Kaplan) grinds against both characters' intelligence.