Sorry for Kung Fu (Serbo-Croation)

As far as non-American film industries go, Croatia’s isn’t exactly Bollywood. The Internet Movie Database shows fewer than 600 films to come out of Croatia EVER, and many of those were straight-to-video or TV productions.

So you cut a little slack for a war-ravaged country where most of the citizens have more urgent things on their minds than making movies. But “Sorry for Kung Fu” (“Oprosti za kung fu”), the third feature from writer/director Ognjen Svilicic, requires more than a little slack. It’s slow-moving and feels padded, even at only 72 minutes.

It has some good ideas, though. It begins with the return of Mirjana (Daria Lorenci) to her remote Croatian village from Germany, where she has been staying during the recent military conflicts. Mirjana is under 25, unmarried … and pregnant.

Her parents, Jozo (Filip Rados) and Kate (Vera Zima), insist that rather than suffer the wagging tongues of their ultra-traditional neighbors, they will spread the story that Mirjana was married and subsequently widowed in Germany. (Being widowed isn’t quite as shameful, after all.) They also set out to marry her off as soon as possible, so that the baby will have a father.

The film is 40 minutes old before it reaches its real point: The baby is born, and the baby is Asian. Local tradition insists that Croats marry only other Croats. Now it is obvious to all observers that if Mirjana did have a husband in Germany, he certainly wasn’t Croatian. Jozo is furious and ashamed of his daughter.

Svilicic intends the film as a mild-mannered comedy, a sort of satire on traditional values and narrow-mindedness. Some of the fretting over Dad’s reaction to the baby is amusing in a sitcom kind of way, as far as it goes. But overall, the movie is languidly paced and not especially entertaining. The Croatian film industry apparently has a long way to go.

C- (1 hr., 12 min.; Not Rated.)