(Chile 2015 93m) CineHoyts La Reina
p Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Pablo Pinto d Esteban Vidal w Fabrizio Copano ed Esteban Vidal, Juan Carlos Catalán Figueroa c Miguel Bunster
a Fabrizio Copano, Juanita Ringeling, Fernando Alarcón, Delfina Guzmán, Andrés Rillón, Julio Jung, Paty Cofré, Héctor Noguera, Coco Legrand, Felipe Avello, Koke Santana, Martín Cárcamo, Nicolás Oyarzún
This review originally appeared on Twitchfilm.com
A couple of years ago I was reviewing the Chilean comedy film ‘Barrio Universitario’ (2013) for this site, and as much as I didn’t like that film very much, I still decided that it was a good show, maybe the only thing that could’ve been said was that it actually seemed to be a step towards maturity, towards something that wasn’t as focused on the offensive humor that it featured, as it really managed to have some heart and some comedy, some stuff that other Chilean films that tried to be funny didn’t have (look at Nicolás López, for example).
And here we are, two years later, with the new film of the director of ‘Barrio Universitario’ (2013), Esteban Vidal, doing another comedy, just to test if what I (and a bunch of other critics) said about the future of our comedy. And while most of the crude humor has disappeared and the script was a little bit better written, I still think that this second film only shows promise of something much better that will eventually come with the years and the expertise.
This movie riffs on the almost apocalyptic nature of the country of Chile, where tremors are an everyday thing and earthquakes a catastrophe that we must get used to every few years. We meet our protagonist, played by Fabrizio Copano, who comes to work at the ONEMI, which is the institution in charge of emergencies in case of big violent events, the (ha ha ha) funny thing is that the employees of this organization are a bunch of old people that don’t know anything about technology and use ridiculously archaic ways to prevent and announce tremors and tsunamis.
The movie shifts from that environment to some sort of conspiracy flick with the diverse personalities of the workers, once they are fired after the new system put together by our protagonist fails to work once a big earthquake hits Chile. With time we know that there’s a plan that tries to use nuclear bombs to create fake earthquakes to detach Chile from the continent and swim it through the oceans and the attach it to Europe, thus becoming “a better country”.
The film is a step forward in the sense that it has abandoned most of the elements that made earlier Chilean films cringe, the overabundant sexuality, the profanity for the sake of it, while at the same time it gathers the talents of many old time comedians from Chile, including the shining star of this film, Andrés Rillón (pictured above), the oldest of the comedians, who gives a performance that is cheeky but endearing, as his fear and hatred towards technology makes him the best fit to communicate everyone about the existence of the nuclear bombs. His non-sequiturs were the ones that made him famous in his time, and now he is again doing them making it the best moments of the film.
The film still fails to be completely entertaining as it doesn’t feel like a cohesive plot and more like a bunch of sketches parched together with some characters that help to move it forward in an artificial manner. Also, as it deprives us from a more crude humor, it also deprives us from any humor at all, and at times the seriousness makes us forget that this was supposed to be a comedy in the first place. Also, the cringe-worthy use of certain product placement is still an issue here, there’s no way to make it look good, and here it looks ridiculous at times.
Nevertheless, this is still a good step forward (lamentably about the steps back in terms of production, lighting, editing and framing) in terms of how to achieve some sort of mainstream comedy. In the end, maybe we will always have the bad comedies of bad filmmakers, but we need our own Farrelly brothers so they can distinguish themselves from the rest.