Men are from New York and women are from Serbia in “Here and There,” the first narrative film from writer/director Darko Lungulov, a sweet-natured, by the book, fish-out-of-water comedy. Technically, some of the men are also from Serbia, but though it tries to tell the dual stories of an American man traveling to Belgrade to bestow a visa on a girl he hasn’t met by marrying her, and the Serbian man in New York trying to raise enough money to pay him for that service, “Here and There” is weighted toward the former. Robert, played by eternal character actor David Thornton, is a failed 50-something musician with a nonspecific chip on his shoulder (“I can’t play anymore — I don’t know why”). Evicted from his apartment, he makes a deal with his man-with-a-van mover Branko (Branislav Trifunovic) to assist in retrieving the younger man’s girlfriend from Belgrade in exchange for a few grand. (Thornton’s wife, Cyndi Lauper, appears in a small role as the relative? ex? old friend? who temporarily takes Robert in.)
Thornton, grizzled and with an East Village boho shock of hair, cleans up into a credible worse for the wear charmer as he spends time with Branko’s widowed mother, Olga (a luminous Mirjana Karanovic, of “Grbavica”), who houses him, having been told he’s a friend of her son’s in town for a business trip. But Robert’s no lovable loser, just grumpy, rude, entitled and not given the benefit of a backstory to justify why — Thornton builds up a sweat projecting boredom and disdain. Robert and Olga romance while wandering through displays of wacky, dilapidated local life. When Branko flounders in his fundraising, the truth comes out in the Balkans, accusations fly, redemption looms and so on. Thornton and Karanovic are very good together, though the film implies, intentionally or not, that in Serbia, even the most sour, broke American loser is a total catch.