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Manuel Gómez Pereira
Rosa Maria Sardà
The director tries for an outrageous sex comedy in the manner of Almavodar, but comes up with a mild screwball amusement. Javier Bardem is neither sexy nor amusing, although he tries very hard. He's not a funny guy. One central plot line revolves around a closeted gay man whose wife is having an affair with his business partner. The character is a sad reminder of the tormented closet homosexuals from movies of the 60s (e.g., William Windom in "The Detective"). Even in a farce, the character must be remotely believable. Is it possible that in the enlightened Spain of the 1990s, such a pitiful creature could still exist? Even in a farce, the premise must be believable.
Another plot line involves Bardem trying to get a part in an American movie and become an international superstar. The satire regarding the American view of Spanish men is obvious and puerile. It's meant for hip Spanish twenty-somethings so they can knowingly smirk about the superiority of Spanish culture to that of Hollywood. But the slapstick is mere juvenilia, without much genuine humor. The American view of Spanish men as hot Latin lovers went out with the death of Valentino (yes, I know, he was Italian, but Americans don't know the difference--therein lies something to satirize).
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