Mom, I Grew Up
(Chile 2014 96m) Cinemark Portal Ñuñoa
p Sebastián Badilla, Gonzalo Badilla, Anita Lira, Carlos Hansen d/w Gonzalo Badilla, Sebastián Badilla c Javiera Kovacevic ed Claudio Soto Lizama
a Katty Kowaleczko, Sebastián Badilla, Javiera Acevedo, Fernando Larraín, Diana Bolocco, José Miguel Viñuela, Sharon Numhauser, Dj Méndez, Liliana Ross, Luis Alarcón, Dayana Amigo, Felipe Mañalich, Vanessa Miller, Lucila Vit, Eduardo Ravani, María Izquierdo
Does a movie like this needs the criticism of paid and unpaid movie critics from Chile? Does it really need it, when it achieves over 80,000 viewers in its first seven days in many screens all over the country. It’s not groundbreaking numbers, but these numbers in the audience aspect already assure us that they’ll have the money to make their next movie, due to the fact that the companies and products that are behind the funding (basically, using the movie as a commercial vehicle to support their cookies, drinks or places to go into) are going to give money again for the next one. So, what could I possibly do when confronted to a movie whose main ambitions is just trying to fill the screen with the biggest names that they can fathom to find for the least amount of money (hence the appeareance of non actors that are among the worst moments of the film) so that the profit of the film whenever it hits theaters is the maximum possible. So, I’m guessing this movie should’ve been made with a very small budget, no matter how many characters and actors there are, mainly because there aren’t any big set pieces, and most of the audiovisual language consists of shots of dialogue that are basic and not complicated, the acting itself seems unrehearsed so the takes weren’t too many… but then there’s the fact that companies like Pepsi and Toddy put their names in front of the picture (as producers, kinda), and for that kind of presence in a movie like this, one has to wonder just how much money do they pass to the producers and directors of this movie, and then wonder… what do they do with it?
So, this isn’t actually the first movie from the Badilla Brothers (as they’ve said, they want to be as famous as the Farrely and Coen Brothers together… yeah…), last year they had the movie ‘El Babysitter’ (2013) that was among the worst films that I saw last year, and sadly didn’t have the chance to review (I could’ve destroyed it, really), and it followed a similar structure, and it seems that they just want to keep on making the same movie over and over again until people notice that they’re doing that and just shut off their money making machine, but I really don’t see that happening, at all. So, the movie has one of the brother directors, Sebastián Badilla, being the protagonist for some strange and unknown reason, since he’s already demonstrated in two previous movies that he doesn’t know how to act and he’s just not funny, playing the same character that he always plays, a kinda nerdy semi-intelligent fat boy who doesn’t achieve anything with girls, and he suddenly finds himself either being attracted to another woman, or a woman is inexplicably attracted to him. So, it is the second option this time, as the much older woman (the non-actress Javiera Acevedo) finds herself attracted to the uninteresting and unappealing Badilla, and I’m really not biased, since I may not understand the attractiveness of certain people, but in this film he does no effort whatsoever to make her fall in love with him (just a lie to defend himself from his mother), but if he had it this easy, I mean… he’s giving a bad example of what relationships and love should be about.
The movie tries to create a relationship with characters that are never really built, as everything seems to be cooked medium-rare, all the acting is stiff, and the characters just seem to randomly appear just to give a funny line of two, something that never ever builds up to a plot. The thing about this movie is how the mother is an over-reacting control freak that tries to make that his son, Badilla, leave the girl he’s involved with, mainly because she’s not of their class (yes, there are plenty of classist jokes here, brace yourselves), and because she seems to have slept with a lot of people, and that irks the highly catholic mother. There never seems to be a truthful and fully compromised view, it wants to criticize the figure of the overbearing mother, yet at the same time there are touching scenes between mother and son where they dance and sing around trying to forget the awful things she’s done to led them astray. I laughed maybe once and it was, most likely, because of Fernando Larraín, the only one who seems to go away unscathed from these movies, while the mother, played by Katty Kowaleczo, tries her hardest with the shitty dialogue that she was given and the wooden performances around her, but she plays the caricature well enough for it to be, maybe, the only memorable thing about this movie. May these comedies be banished from the cinema of Chile, we don’t need these kind of movies that never take a risk and are never funny.