Opening 18 Aug 2022
The second film adaptation of the beloved Mein Lotta Leben children’s book series, Alles Tschaka mit Alpaka, is a fun movie for the whole family to enjoy and sure to be a favorite of preteens throughout Germany. Lotta (Meggy Hussong) and her friends, Cheyenne (Yola Streese) and Paul (Levi Kazmaier), the self-titled Wilde Kaninchen Gang, are off on their first school class trip to the German coast, but there’s no way this will be a carefree week at the beach.
From the get go, the trip seems doomed. Lotta’s Papa, Reiner Petermann (Oliver Mommsen), must come along as a last-minute chaperone. As if that isn’t embarrassing enough, Remí (Timothy Scannell), the brand-new student joining the class from France, is head over heels in love with Lotta. Though she wants little to do with him, he follows her around in a lovesick trance everywhere she goes. Adding to the drama is the rumored ghost of a missing camper walking the halls at night (or perhaps those are just the Alpaca) and the actual disappearance of Cheyenne’s little sister, Channell (Cara Vondey). All of this plays out against the backdrop of a class filled with young teens entrenched in their cliques—everything from the black leather clad rockers to the high fashionista glam girls are represented—and their unnervingly severe teacher, Frau Kackert (Sarah Hostettler) threatening to break up the class for good unless everyone achieves some real bonding.
I had the opportunity to watch this film with my 10-year-old daughter, a mega Lotta fan and this movie’s target audience. We both found the film quite funny at times—though usually for different reasons and to varying degrees. Most notable to me was how it dealt with the subject of puberty and hormones in a sweet and hilarious way that is equally accessible to preteens and their parents. My daughter found the spooky elements surrounding the missing student from years past and the current disappearance of Chanell to be a wholly engrossing departure from the books that added an unexpected element of suspense. I think these added storylines (the film is based on books 7 and 8 from the series) will captivate a young audience, particularly those already invested in the series and eager for new adventures from the Wilde Kaninchen Gang. (Adelina Gonzales)