THEY SAY skinny girls have more fun; they urge tight jeans on a lean machine. But Marianne Sagebrecht is here to say forget that hooey, and help yourself to a bag of Snickers.
Sagebrecht is the hefty heroine of "Sugarbaby," a kinky little German comedy that's as notable for its audacious cinematography as for its protagonist's prodigious proportions.
She is a mortuary worker whose life, when we meet her, is empty of everything but food and television; she's a queen-sized couch potato who occasionally goes out for a float in a lime-green swimming pool.
We don't know it yet, but our heroine is an embryonic sex bomb, a megaton of sensuality ready to blast off. It happens, as much does these days, in the subway, that urban umbilical cord that has been the subject of so much new wave cinema, as in 'Subway," "Diva" and "Subway Riders."
The last and "Sugarbaby" were shot by cinematographer Johanna Heer, whose despondent, romantic, crowded perspectives, intrusive camerawork and colors -- jelly bean spots in lollipop yellows, romance novel pinks -- are as essential to the telling of the story as the droll, abbreviated dialogue.
Sagebrecht is something of a mime as she trundles about her daily duties -- dressing corpses, staring at television, inhaling jelly rolls. But that fateful day, riding the rails, monotony gives way to adventure. She gets a major crush on a young, thin and handsome subway conductor (played by West German clown Eisi Gulp).
She comes alive with an obsession stronger than that of any perfume ad. She buys a bottle of some musk or other, daubs it on her bountiful bosom, special-orders some economy-size black scanties, installs a double mattress with satin sheets, and then waylays her prey.
While his cranky, unappreciative wife is away on business, Sagebrecht entices him home with a candy bar. An under-appreciated man, as girls the world over know, is apt to stray. And as writer-director Percy Adlon sees it, the way to a man's heart is still through his stomach.
Sagebrecht buys the Lover's Cookbook, pours herself into a pair of pitched-and-painful stiletto heels -- the pounds of pressure per square inch are terrible to contemplate -- and stuffs him with treats.
Sagebrecht not only feeds her sugarbaby, she bubble-bathes him, listens to his boring stories about sports and, last but not least, urges him to feast on her copious charms. As if they weren't enough, there's a cake beside the bed.
As in real life, there are more mundane things you can do with your lips. Sagebrecht launches into a lengthy dialogue about her unhappy childhood. Even the camera gets twitchy during this boring, blabby scene that breaks the mood, then gives way to a mean-spirited ending unworthy of its generous heroine.
Overall, Sagebrecht and Adlon offer women, and men for that matter, a heroine of more human dimensions instead of those suck-cheeked and unapproachable figures on billboards. Love is easy. You don't have to be thin. You don't have to be 17. Just be sweet.
Still when all is said and done, "Sugarbaby" only extends the man-catching cliches to the big gal's department, albeit cleverly.