The Noble kids have always lived a life of luxury. Javier (Luis Gerardo Méndez) is the stereotypical Mirrey who technically works for his father’s company but relegates his obligations to his staff while he flies on a whim with his friends on their private jet to party in Miami. Bárbara (Karla Souza) is the princess whose main preoccupation in life is to maintain her presence in the social circles of the rich and the fabulous. Carlos (Juan Pablo Gil) is the hippie who spends more time maintaining sexual relations with his teachers instead of his grades. When Germán Noble (Gonzalo Vega) finds out about his children’s lack of direction in life, he dismisses his perpetual argument that it must be due to trauma brought about by their mother’s sudden death. Suffering from a heart attack and worried that he might pass away leaving them as such, he decides to teach them a lesson. Faking bankruptcy and staging an embargo of all their wealth and properties, he takes them to his father’s decrepit house in the outskirts of Mexico City “to hide”, and asks them to do what they have never done before in their lives: Get a job.
This became Mexico’s highest grossing film of all time for a few months, before being overtaken by No se aceptan devoluciones. It took more than 10 years for a Mexican film to break the record set by El crimen del padre Amaro more than a decade prior. For now, it still holds its position in second place, as well as international recognition as one of the highest grossing Latin American films in the North American box office. Owing to its success, two remakes have been produced so far: Italy’s Belli di papà and Colombia’s Malcriados. If you analyze the premise of the film, it can actually be remade in any country with just some minor adjustments to add some local flavor. These spoiled brats, along with the other demographic consisting of everybody else who hates them, exist in most societies in the world, which makes it a viable box office hit in the making if the director gets to capture the essence of the movie’s main argument.
It is a hilarious film, without a doubt, mainly relying on the fish-out-of-water approach as its form of comedy. The plot has been done before, so there is nothing new there. The thing is, it’s the character development that one usually gets to enjoy in this genre. And it’s good to see that all four of the main characters are given the chance to shine and show everyone that they have indeed evolved as individuals in less than two hours and still be convincing. Even Germán himself has a lesson to learn, and the director makes sure that it is evident in the ending.
The ending is not the cliché type where the rich kid becomes a rich kid again, now with just a vague recollection of that nightmare where his credit cards and mobile phone plan have been blocked. Here, the Noble children really get to be independent after all, and that’s a good message to send to all Mirreys and princesses out there. While we can argue that most of these kids are pain stupid, perhaps it is better to say that they just need exposure to a more accessible reality so they can be better in touch with it.
When Javi proposes gas on delivery as his pet project, everyone views it as downright stupidity coming from a privileged kid. However, when you look at it from his point of view, you get to see that his perspective is that narrow because that’s the reality he’s been operating in all his life. When he finally experiences how it is to be a pesero driver and hang out at Taxqueña, he does manage to come up with a brilliant business idea, which inevitably bears fruit. As for Bárbi, well, hers was the obligatory romance angle, although that did not hijack her character development. It was rather predictable, though. Charlie did not get as much exposure, but his evolution is shown early on, being the first to get a well-paying job despite the tradeoff.
But yes, it’s Germán’s lesson that resonates quite well. He discovers how little he knows about his children, and in the end he’s the one to humble himself to pursue prospects of familial reconciliation. In this kind of narrative, it is important to show that the blame is not exclusive to one party. Most of the time, spoiled brats are spoiled brats because of their upbringing, which is why it was so touching to watch them finally bond as a family brought together by their dire financial situation, regardless if it was fake or not.