Yay, my first foreign film of the year. Er… except based on the trailer I just watched, this is eerily similar to EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY (2017). The premise seems fairly similar. A Hispanic woman living in America, has a family that drives her crazy, an ex lover that tries to get back with the Hispanic woman while she’s pursuing a relationship with the white dude… are you sure this isn’t the same movie with an even less recognizable cast?
The story looks like it’s about… well, I guess I sort of just mentioned it. This woman is happy in the States, about to marry a white dude, but family drama sucks her back to Mexico where she has to deal with her crazy family and possibly dealing with lingering feeling for a former flame. The fiance and and former lover measure dicks and high jinks ensues.
As this is a foreign film, I have no idea who the core cast is. I’ll still credit them as much as I can, but it’d be pretty pointless to mention their previous work that wouldn’t mean much to me. Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Marimar Vega, Omar Chaparro, and Ryan Carnes. In support, the only name I recognize is Kate Vernon, whom I know from TV show BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2004 – 2009).
Now for the crew. Directing is Marco Polo Constandse. Co-writing the screenplay are Santiago Limon and Issa Lopez. This film, apparently, doesn’t have a score, hence no composer. The cinematographer is Erwin Jaquez. Finally, the editor is Jorge Macaya.
Overall, I’m guessing that it’s not going to be a good movie, but… I have a sinking feeling that I’m going enjoy it anyway. Curse you, love of rom-coms.
This is my honest opinion of: VALENTINA’S WEDDING / LA BODA DE VALENTINA
Valentina (Marimar Vega) happily lives in the United States and is about to get married to her boyfriend, Jason (Ryan Carnes). However, back in her home in Mexico, her father is running for mayor. Thing is, he’s losing the election and needs help with the poles, which includes forging a marriage with a business associate of his named Angel (Omar Chaparro), who also happens to be an ex-boyfriend of Valentina’s. Realizing what’s happening, Valentina returns to her hometown in Mexico where she swore not to return to, hoping to avoid the constant family scandals. Despite not being happy with the arrangements, she goes along with the fake marriage and putting up with Angel, whom she may or may not still have feelings for.
Wow. This… was a special kind of bad.
Okay, for those of you that don’t know, I’m kind of a sucker for rom-coms. I can’t help it, I was practically raised on them. Even if they’re not that good, it’s hard for me not to enjoy them. I can’t pretend the genre has evolved since the days of IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) and BORN YESTERDAY (1950), awe hell, the last truly great rom-com I ever saw was LOVE, ACTUALLY (2003), but there’s still plenty that get enough chuckles. But this… had nothing to it. Like I said in my initial impressions, this movie seriously looked a little too similar to EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY. The movie wasn’t great, but there was enough charm to the actors to carry me through. It was predictable, but it was at the very least a satisfying predictability. This movie couldn’t even do predictability right, and I never thought that could be a thing. I can’t exactly get into the middle finger that this movie throws up at the audience without going into spoilers so… y’all be warned.
Essentially, the movie plays out exactly like a movie like this would. Woman is supposed to be in a romance triangle with two men, and like all poorly done stories with this set-up, one is clearly a better man for her than the other, but the movie insists that she can’t decide. Under normal circumstances, one would think the ending is that she picks the good man and lives happily ever after, right? Ha! Think again! This movie decides that the woman opts for the jack-off and leaves the good man at the altar on the wedding day!
You read that right. There is nothing redeeming about Angel. From the moment he comes on screen, the man is so disgustingly happy with the fake marriage that he’s thrown his all into it in such a way that he’s already trying to hug and kiss her when he picks her up at the airport, and they haven’t seen each other in over ten years, or so. Arms length, you micro-penis’d dick-wad! And he’s relentless in every scene with her that you never truly get a sense of charm or conflict within him. But somehow, she still feeds into that “will she, or won’t she” trope and for no good reason. Literally, the scene where she starts treating him differently is during a board room meeting with her family that he crashes and dishes an idea for how to raise her father’s ratings in the election. So the man’s savvy in terms of politics. How is that attractive? And even after that, he never gets any better. He acts childish when he and Jason meet and has to show him up one, it’s a load of shit, man.
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s get into the less spoilery reasons why this movie sucks the big one.
It’s laced with tired tropes. The movie starts off with a liar-reveal storyline. For whatever reason, Valentina can’t be honest with Jason and makes up a story about why she has to go back to Mexico for reasons that aren’t any better than, “Because I don’t like my family.” It makes zero sense and plays out exactly like you think. Jason finds out and gets upset. Big shock! Oh, and this movie tries to sneak in political rivals that act more like middle school bullies you’d find in a bad Nickelodeon sitcom. Not even kidding, the leader of this posse will say a sentence and then his cohorts will repeat the last word he says in that sentence, even copying his physical movements. It’s wasted screen time because they barely have more than two scenes, despite being played up like they’re going to be the villains.
Even the whole “fake marriage” thing doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Like, how does something like that get forged? Isn’t there legal paperwork somewhere that needs to be signed by both newlyweds? Not that I’m an expert on Mexican marriage laws (or American marriage laws for that matter), or anything, but some things just feel like they carry over from one civilized culture to another.
Also, this Mexican family annoys me. Look, I’m part of a Mexican family, it’s big and when we get together, it gets loud, people talking over each other, projection of voices to everyone involved in the conversation can hear them, all that jazz. Thing is, though, Valentina’s family feels like a parody of Mexican families. Yeah, yeah, it’s a comedy and things are supposed to be played up for laughs. But seriously, a jailed elderly woman who has an elliptical in her cell, with full access to internet and free communication with her family and business meetings? Unless this was a cartoon, this stretched the realm of plausibility for me. Again, not an expert on Mexican laws, so if this is accurate, let me know. Knowledge is power, right? But… I highly doubt it.
Even Jason becomes an annoying character later on. It’s bad enough that Angel doesn’t respect Valentina’s wishes to not try and make Jason drink alcohol, but the fact that it doesn’t take much convincing to get Jason to drink just shows the lack of integrity the man has. In hindsight, no one should be with anyone in this movie. Valentina’s a liar and a borderline cheat that tries to justify everything she does, so she shouldn’t be trusted, Angel’s an invasive dick, and Jason’s a pussy. The only reason why I cared about Jason any is because he at least was properly developed as a nice guy.
Overall, I really didn’t like this movie. Arguably one of the worst of the year so far and it’s only February. I can’t say it’s the worst rom-com, though I don’t know if I can name a worse one. But even as bad as it is, it’s not bad enough to be considered an insult. It’s just stupid, makes no sense half the time, and has a god-awful ending that you’d swear was inserted simply for the whole, “well, you didn’t see it coming” effect. As far as a recommendation is concerned, no, I don’t recommend it. Not even as a rental. Fight for my future wife? Psh, I’m tapping out. Get me out of the ring.
My honest rating for VALENTINA’S WEDDING / LA BODA DE VALENTINA: 2/5