Take a struggling actor (Javier Bardem downplaying his good looks and normal masculine appeal for a 'nebbische'-looking character) who becomes a phone sex operator (in a wonderfully sleazy phone sex operation), and then becomes involved with a (male) client, pretending to be gay. Add in an excellently created agent, a self-centred director (brilliantly played by Alistair Mackenzie), a love interest or two, lots of fun and laughs. Roller-coaster with the film when it becomes 'dark', becoming and spoofing 'film noir'. All of these 'archetypes' have been set up and spoofed before. And here is a Spanish film which does so, with humour and fun: simultaneously sending up its own industry and that of Hollywood. It's stunning!
This is an inventive, witty, fun film! It's very similar in intent to the recent 'Unconditional Love' aka 'Who killed Victor Fox?' (which cannot be boxed into a specific genre of movie), where the ensemble acting, the lead acting, and quite quirky script work: in a strange way, this is a feel-good movie: one can sense the actors really enjoying themselves. And so does the audience.
It is a film worth seeing; a Spanish spoof of Hollywood, of various film genres (and add in here plot convolutions, homage to other movies (often with a 'twist'), of beginnings and endings (no spoiler here, but in my opinion both beginning and ending are so true to the film's intention)and a fun take on actors and directors.
It's not at all a 'heavy' film. Director Manuel Gomez Pereira has the script nicely sewn up, and his direction (while never heavy handed) is tight, light and snappy. He has a great cast of actors, led by Javier Bardem (who can never really convince one that he is a nerd and unsexy!) and Maria Barranco, who gives a deft performance as female lead.
There are brilliant cameo roles, and some amusing American (language) lines counterpointed with the Spanish dialogue.
This film works! It's an absolute gem, a treat: see it....
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