Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cásese quien pueda

Using her friend’s phone to take a group photo during her wedding dress fitting, Ana Paula (Martha Higareda) stumbles upon a photo of the friend and her fiancé in a jacuzzi. After a catfight ensues, she is now having second thoughts whether the marriage should push through or not. Her sister Daniela (Miriam Higareda) thinks it’s a bad idea, and tells her that she will boycott the celebration. Confused and with a tequila bottle at hand, she drives around Mexico City, crashes a wedding reception, and ends up unconscious on the back of a pick-up truck. When she regains consciousness, she finds out that she’s been taken all the way to the jungles of Quintana Roo where she meets Erick (Michel Brown), an Argentinian doctor who lives in a small Mayan community. Back in DF, the other sister comes to the rescue of Gustavo (Luis Gerardo Méndez), her BFF with whom she has been in love since she was seven. Being teased as gay by his family for never having a girlfriend, he rides along and joins the charade, until both of them start to feel that perhaps there really is something there all along.

Why is it that in almost every Mexican film I’ve seen in the last few months or so, either Juan Pablo Medina or Rocio Garcia is always part of the cast? Both of them have been ubiquitous so far, it makes you think that perhaps they are that friendly with everybody in the industry that everyone just loves casting them. Nothing, it’s just an observation. Not that it bothers me in anyway, as long as they portray their roles well.

Seeing the film on the list of Mexico’s top-grossing movies, I guess I expected too much. The plot is completely recycled, and it seems like they took every rule from the rom-com handbook and just applied each and every one to the finished product. The storyline is so predictable that you can just see the ending coming from miles away. However, this does not mean to say that it’s not an enjoyable watch, because it actually is. It’s just that sometimes when you are presented with a material this cliché, you at least try to look for the crew’s effort to make it somehow stand out from the rest of the genre.

Well, there are some obvious attempts, and the best subplot is that of Quintana Roo’s Maya community. Sponsored in part by said state, almost half of the film showcases not just the natural beauty of the region, but also the culture of the indigenous people living there. We get to witness a traditional Maya wedding preparation, as well as the ceremony itself held beside an underground cenote. That particular scene is quite short, but magical nonetheless. But then again, that’s another rule lifted from the handbook: Bring the audience to a field trip to distract them from the rehashed plot.

As for the scenes with the other sister in Mexico City, it plays more like Meet the Parents, with the annoying brother-in-law being the exaggerated one who cracks corny jokes. There is chemistry between Higareda and Méndez, but the stereotypical rom-com formula treatment no longer leaves any room for excitement. But hey, at least they tried. The same thing can be said regarding the Quintana Roo subplot between the other Higareda and Brown. The good thing about this cast is that all four of them are attractive, which serves its purpose well as another worthwhile distraction.

What about social relevance? The film’s tagline happens to be: The wedding justifies the means. If you analyze the plot, it’s the other sister afraid of commitment who ends up getting married, while the other one who was dying to do so became more spontaneous and was okay with a more informal relationship with her new guy. The title itself says a lot: Go get married, whoever can. Maybe it’s an ode to the persisting disestablishment of marriage itself as an institution, on how people nowadays are more in love with the idea more than the person they are marrying. Given how it earned that much in the local box office, perhaps that’s how most Mexicans feel nowadays. 

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