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The Perez Family (1995)

In an attempt to secure a sponsor, an unlikely group of Cuban refugees become a "family" as the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service gives families priority over others. In the ... See full summary »

Director:

Mira Nair

Writers:

Christine Bell (novel), Robin Swicord (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marisa Tomei ... Dorita Evita Perez
Alfred Molina ... Juan Raul Perez
Anjelica Huston ... Carmela Perez
Chazz Palminteri ... Lt. John Pirelli
Trini Alvarado ... Teresa Perez
Celia Cruz ... Luz Pat
Ranjit Chowdhry Ranjit Chowdhry ... Indian immigration official
Diego Wallraff ... Angel Diaz
Ellen Cleghorne ... Officer Rhoades
Angela Lanza ... Flavia
Jose Felipe Padron Jose Felipe Padron ... Felipe Perez
Lázaro Pérez Lázaro Pérez ... Armando 'Papi' Perez
Bill Sage ... Steve Steverino
Vincent Gallo ... Orlando
Billy Hopkins Billy Hopkins ... Father Aiden
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Storyline

In an attempt to secure a sponsor, an unlikely group of Cuban refugees become a "family" as the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service gives families priority over others. In the process, a political prisoner who hasn't seen his wife for twenty years and a disaffected sugarcane cutter fall in love. An excitable brother and a lovestruck cop contribute to the general confusion. The inevitable humorous romantic entaglements ensue as a final confrontation is set up. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A family became strangers and strangers became a family. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 May 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuando salí de Cuba See more »

Filming Locations:

Coral Gables, Florida, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,832,826
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón was supposed to be directing this film, but pulled out before production started. See more »

Goofs

When Dottie goes to make out with the security guard at the bar, the first wide shot shows her without her orange pants on, just black panties. In the next shot, she is wearing her pants, then the security guard precedes to pull them down, showing the black panties previously shown from a far distance in the first wide shot. See more »

Quotes

Carmela Perez: She's a good girl but she is an American. Who could have imagined me having an American for a daughter?
See more »

Connections

Features Angel and the Badman (1947) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Exploits the spice of Cuba but is really just a predictable romantic comedy/drama
28 March 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When President Carter declared an open door policy to anyone who wanted to escape Cuba and come to America, Castro used this to clear his jails of criminals and political prisoners. When Juan Raul Perez gets on the boat he hopes his wife will be there to meet him, as she fled to the US decades ago. When she doesn't come he ends up in the camp with everyone else, including the feisty Dorita Evita Perez. The two need a sponsor to get out of the camp and realise that things would be easier if they were a family. For that reason they pretend to be married and gradually start putting their fake family in place.

I was drawn to this film by the cast list and in fairness I should have spotted that this film about Cubans had very few Cuban or even Latino actors in it. Anyway, aside from that the plot has historical context but I am not familiar enough with it to say if it was accurate or not, although I really don't think it matters very much. The film tries to fizzle with Latin spirit while at the same time delivering a rather convoluted romantic drama of sorts. It partly works but the writing isn't great and the film failed to really engage me as it just seemed a little forced as if it had been a good idea once but had had so many knobs added to it that it got a little daffy. After an hour it settles into the formulaic mould it was in all along, the historical context forgotten and the clichés allowed to flow. If you can't see where this is going then I salute your ability to blindly accept what is given to you.

Talking of clichés, the casting of so few Hispanic/Cuban/Latino actors was a mystery to me. Surely it would have been possible to get closer than Italian, which is what quite a few of the main characters appear to be. Tomei was the name that drew me to this film but in turns her role is good and bad. She has an important role and it was necessary for her to be feisty etc but she overdoes it a little bit - hammy up her Latin cliché at the start for all she is worth; she gets better though. Molina is another strange choice but he does well in his role and carries some dignity through the film - it's not his fault that the script gets silly in trying to keep him and Huston apart. Huston is OK but her subplot seems added on to make the ending more palatable to the audience (god forbid anyone should be hurt). For this same reason, Palminteri is wasted. Cruz is good and Chowdhry is quite funny, but why Gallo even bothered is beyond me - pre-fame I suppose. SNL's Cleghorne plays a cop and, in the spirit of ethnic clichés, pushes the `oh-no-she-didn't' eye-rolling, `talk to the hand', neck moving black character for all she is worth - when she does it as a joke it is OK but here it just felt like laziness - especially for such a minor character.

Overall, any Hollywood film with Latinos/Cubans/Hispanics in it is going to force the rhythm for all it is worth and here is no different. It starts out boasting historical context and spice, falls into a rather convoluted series of plot twists that end up taking the film down a rom-com road to a solution that, although badly delivered, unthinkable and out-of-nowhere, was obvious from about 30 minutes into the film.


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