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Yuppie and womanizer Tomas is caught in a trap when falsely diagnosed with A.I.D.S. by Silvia, a nurse who finds herself cheated by the young Casanova. Looking for a quick death (putting his head into a microwave oven) Tomas falls in love with Clarisa, a beautiful stewardess who is also suicidal because her boyfriend is having a love affair with a blonde stewardess from Continental Airlines. Written by
Maximiliano Maza <email@example.com>
nutty farce and dark melodrama; never entirely clicks, but it's fun seeing Cuaron try
Solo con tu pareja has been unavailable in the United States for over a decade, as the Mexican censors had some problems with the final product (hence not the usual distribution of festival screenings and whatnot). It's an admirable debut feature by a director who's obviously got plenty of passion in him, and a little invention to spare. While one might be a little off-set that there's a complete lack of the hand-held that's been synonymous with his later work (chiefly Children of Men and Y Tu Mama Tambien, probably just as subversive as this), it's certainly original and with that spirit that one might recognize in some "light" French sex farce. Hell, we even get the guy going back and forth between two bedrooms in the nde trying to please two ladies at once!
The guy is Tomas Tomas (Daniel Caucho, not quite the smoothest looking guy, but then that's part of his anti-appeal), who sleeps with many, many women, scorns a nurse who comes back to haunt him terribly, and is in love with one only- a stewardess (beautiful Claudia Ramirez)- who's getting married to a pilot. Throughout the movie we see him go into such a wacky bit like the one just mentioned, where he's pleasing a nurse he seduced during a blood test and his boss. And then drinking up and, depressed, saying he'll commit "harakiri" around some Japanese businessmen. Then when he gets devastating news (i.e. AIDS, just when it was at its hottest in controversy), he plans to follow in the absurd death of a poodle, who was stuffed into a microwave and toasted to a crisp. But what about Clarisa?
Cuaron, with his long-time DP Emmanuel Lubezki, create many sumptuous visuals, lit with a bit of care that elevates it from being on the level of a dastard soap (which, frankly, it could be in the wrong hands), and he himself is an editor, which explains a few things like the crazy rhythm when showcasing the jalapeño commercial or Tomas's crazy sex dream up in the plane. There's so much energy and such a will from the actors to go wherever Cuaron wants (basically they're all game is what I mean) that you almost forget that the tone and structure is messy.
Take the climax as prime example, where we get tender, hard existentialism as Tomas and Claudia are at the top of the roof of the building, inter-cut with the action on the ground- Tomas's burly doctor and a whole carnival car of Japanese businessmen and who knows who- racing to tell him he doesn't have AIDS. This, as with many other scenes, doesn't click as well (the NY Times review read my mind; it is, basically, a lightweight's Almodovar in mixing brazen, nutty comedy and the pulpiest of melodrama). Still, fans of farce will enjoy its pleasures, and its clever attitude; it doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is, which adds to the fun (if not outright belly laughs) seeing Tomas do a sort of dance as he goes naked each morning to get his paper, with wackiness ensuing. It certainly shows the director's chops, and it's a shame this didn't get more attention on its original release. 7.5/10
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