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Character driven romp
martinjensen30 May 2005
I woke up in my hotel room and this was playing on HBO. I knew it was an over-the-top farce, but I had to watch. The characters were great, the narrative had a magical component which you can struggle against or ride along with. I found the ride worth the suspension of disbelief. How else can you do a prince/pauper tale against a backdrop of Southern California real estate, Chicago gangsters and immigrant farm laborers?

The plot twists were many, but not hard to follow. One recurring theme was that those who would rule by money become ruled by it; those who are ruled by the heart find the resources that they need. Is it a fairytale? Sure! What's wrong with fairy tales?

It was a charming film and one I will recommend.
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Stole 2hrs of my life
R-Type-231 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This film was terrible. Andy Garcia plays two twin brothers who are polar opposites - one of them a generous, Bohemian, harmonica-playing, salsa-dancing, illegal-refugee-harbouring saint-like figure; the other a dastardly "businessman"-like scoundrel. They battle throughout over an inheritance neither of them really seems to deserve, and {spoiler alert!!!} at the end there is an epiphany of biblical proportions as Brother Bad realises just in time the error of his ways. Precipitated by what? A crazed rant from Brother Good whilst in a hot-air balloon about the importance of love, the rivers, the land, the family.... The humanity!
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Location, location, location
WriterDude25 January 2004
(This is an edited/revised post):

This film deeply affected me in two ways, which I will present in reverse chronological order:

2) The movie was shot largely on location, in and around my hometown of Santa Barbara. When I saw it in 1996, I was nine years removed from home and doing radio in Missouri. It was good to see home again.

1) However, I had the opportunity to go home in early 1995 when this was being shot. To his security team's utter horror, I attempted to park near the SB County Courthouse, somewhere dangerously close to (read: half a block away from) Andy Garcia's trailer. After several contentious profanities were hurled at me I moved the car, during which time I uttered a wish out loud that the film would turn out to be an utterly unwatchable piece of crap, and would completely tank at the box office.

Moral of the story? Don't go on location and then let your people treat a local like something stuck to your shoe -- he just might have unknown powers in putting curses.

To the film's credit, they did have the good taste to shoot at Papagallo's on De La Guerra Plaza (try the ceviche), and it also showed the annual Summer Solstice Parade in a pretty good light.

EDIT: Since I wrote most of the above, I've had occasion to revisit this movie (there was nothing better on HBO that night), and I've reluctantly come to the conclusion it really is funny. Mostly due to the performances of Alan Arkin and Joe ("Joey Pants") Pantoliano.

Okay, so I ran afoul of Andy Garcia's people during the shoot and they honked me off. And then my first viewing of the film left me cold. I've since warmed up to it (and removed my negative comments in this edit). Take that for what it's worth -- and I hope it's worth something, because I'm not a big fan of eating crow in public.
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Dreadfully confusing
ginger_sonny3 August 2004
Directed by Andrew Davis, starring Andy Garcia and Alan Arkin. Awful.... Two Garcias - he stars as identical twins, one good, the other mean - battle it out over their guardian's will in Davis's witless follow-up to The Fugitive. Although it's supposed to be a comedy with a moral message, this actually has no redeeming features whatsoever. From the lack of decent jokes to Garcia's squabbling siblings, it's a film that will have you looking at your watch more often than you look at the screen. When the supporting cast of livestock out-act everybody and everything else, you know you're in trouble.
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Worth seeing just for Santa Barbara at it's most beautiful
gazelam17 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
During the time this was being shot I was spending a fair bit of time in Santa Barbara on a work assignment (tough duty, eh?). I never ran afoul of the movie crowd, but I saw their antics from afar and in the newspaper.

That winter, the California coast had been totally drenched by rain for many weeks. Landslides were abundant. By the time they began filming in the spring, the coastal area was as green as I have ever seen it. The film makers did a wonderful job of capturing that on film.

*****Minor Spoiler - The solstice parade was staged in the spring for the movie, and although it was sunny that day, it was unseasonably cold. You can probably see goosebumps on the people with fewer clothes on.

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You have to see this. And it is time to put it on DVD.
Windwalkerz28 May 2002
Garcia is so outstanding in this. The movie is beautifully filmed. And as a long time Alan Arkin fan I got a kick out of the "Lou" character. The music is beautiful and Garcia just gets better all the time. Check out the movie "Disappearance of Garcia Lorca" for another fine Andy Garcia work.
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Too Long, Too Little, Too Boring
guyb7 March 2002
This movie started out pretty entertaining and kept my attention with the conflict between the two twin brothers. Alan Arkin started slow, but just kept building nicely. Andy Garcia played both roles very nicely. However, about 45 minutes before the end of this very long movie, it turned into a mad, mad world slapstick which just insulted all the character and plot development that you as the viewer had invested. Should have just edited it to a tight 90-100 minutes and had a nice tense ending. What a waste.
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charming but not very realistic
ja05763 October 2012
This is a better than average film. i am not an Andy Garcia fan, but I must admit he was charming and likable in this movie. I was a little confused that illegal aliens were presented in such a positive light. I found this a bit unbelievable, but I guess it had to be done for the story to work the way the director wanted it to. Still, as long as you throw believability out the door (as you have to do with most Hollywood movies anyway) it's not a bad way to spend a few hours. I don't understand why I have to make my review ten lines before it can be published. Maybe IMDb could e-mail me a reason for this. I've read several reviews much shorter than mine. How are they being published?
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Great "sleeper movie"
mvhyams25 December 2006
Sleeper in this case refers to a movie not much publicized and not even reviewed in some of the usual places. Andy Garcia is wonderful. True, the plot is one of the usual good over evil ideas but the use of a winery and immigrant farm workers who depend on it's existence is very real today. The solutions to some of the problems show genuine, well thought processes and the people are shown as they really are...not to mention the location is superb! Santa Barbara is most beautiful and this picture does a good job of showing that. Since I watch movies for entertainment value rather than moral value this is a hit. Good dialog, good shots, a playful Andy....what else do you need?
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Very confusing, better when it was funny (SPOILERS)
vchimpanzee28 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Mona found Ruben and Robert in an irrigation ditch after an immigration raid. When their parents couldn't be found, she wanted to raise them herself, which ended up causing problems in her marriage and eventually ended it. When the boys grew up, Robert was put in charge of the California ranch, but he was guilty of 'creative accounting', so Mona changed her will to leave Ruben everything. When Mona died and the new will was revealed, Robert was not happy about that ...

This movie was very hard to follow. It began with a parade, and then a flashback to the time when supporters of keeping the ranch open tried to stop foreclosure, which included trapping a bulldozer in a deep hole. Then more flashbacks to explain how events reached that point. Most of the movie consisted of Ruben and his business partner Lou being interviewed documentary-style, with flashbacks to the events being described.

Ruben brought his wife Laura and daughter Maria from Chicago, along with Lou (Nick later followed, though I'm not entirely clear on what his relationship with Lou was). Robert was having trouble in his marriage to Bonnie, and he was scheming to prevent Ruben from getting what was his, including housing for numerous immigrant workers. After Ruben found some of Mona's money which no one else knew about, his lawyer and best friend Eddie wanted to hide it from the IRS and invest it. And Judge Winton Myers was corrupt. There's not much more I can say without spoilers, but I wish someone would explain what happened because I still don't know.

Alan Arkin was pretty good, and great in a courtroom scene where he acted as a lawyer for himself and Ruben, very convincing even though he seemed to be some kind of blue-collar businessman in Chicago. Andy Garcia was good at times as Robert, who was kind of a snake. His performance as Ruben was nothing outstanding, but not terrible. As Ruben, he was best with his young son Julian and with Laura and Maria. Both characters seemed to have trouble making up their minds whether or not they had accents.

Joe Pantoliano seemed quite terrible at first as Eddie (in his first scene he couldn't stop smiling and he looked like an idiot), but later on Eddie went through a complete character change that was quite interesting. Still, he was called 'a weasel', and even the new Eddie fit that description.

I liked the scenes with Nick and Lou, but I'm not real clear on what happened. They were just funny. Nick seemed to be a hit man of some kind.

The movie would have worked better as a straight comedy. Once I finally had it figured out, I started enjoying it, but then it got strange and confusing again. One problem was the score. A lot of the music suggested zany comedy, but the movie got quite serious at times, too. It seemed there was no in-between, and it just wasn't that good when it was dramatic. Only once did I feel that switching the music back and forth like that was effective.

Some highlights that are not spoilers:

Ruben shows up when Robert is spending the night with a woman, and the woman thinks she has left Robert in the bathtub but doesn't know about Ruben. I thought her reaction to Ruben was great.

A woman knocks on the judge's door and sings a bawdy song to the judge, which the judge's wife loves.

It wasn't a total waste of time, but I could have been happier.


Eddie is missing but is found after a search, and he has shaved his head and says he is 'born again'.

Ruben pretends to be Robert near the end of the movie. I wish I had known because nothing was making sense at that point. Robert was in jail, and the other prisoners believed he was Ruben, which was a good thing because Robert they would have beaten up or killed.

Using a hidden camera, Eddie pretends to be a woman and gets the drunk judge to confess to his misdeeds that have caused Ruben and his supporters so much grief.
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Definitely a must see!!
xxmuthaxx24 February 1999
Andy Garcia is the most underrated actor there is. This movie has the best storyline that keeps you watching to see what happens next. Very good movie.
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This is a great Andy Garcia Movie! Time to put it on DVD!
HeatherFL2 November 2003
Garcia, as always, is great in this socially sensitive film about the plight of "the worker" and small farmers. It also is a very entertaining romantic comedy. A must see for Garcia Fans. Alan Arkin is great as "Lou" and don't miss an inspired perfomance by Joe Pantoliano as a weasily coward of a lawyer who redeems himself in the end...
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