Review: 'Musica en Espera'
Argentine Comedy Opens 11th Annual Cinema en tu Idioma
The San Diego Latino Film Festival kicks off the 11th season of its Cinema en tu Idioma film series. Opening this year’s event are a pair of romantic comedies, "Regresa" and "Musica en Espera" (opening August 13 at the Ultrastar Mission Valley Theaters at Hazard Center). The latter caught my eye because it's also about filmmaking. Listen to my review.
Ezequiel (Diego Peretti) composes music for the movies but his latest score has left his director less than satisfied. The director wants something memorable, perhaps like what Ennio Morricone did for the spaghetti westerns. But creating a signature theme like "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is no easy task especially when you have a creative road block like the one Ezequiel is facing. He simply can’t write anything. So, during a moment of procrastination he calls his bank to deal with delinquent payments on his home. He keeps getting transferred and put on hold. But just when he’s at the end of his rope, he hears music that suddenly inspires him. But before he can write down the notes his call is connected. Now he’s desperate to hear the music again. So he decides to go down to the bank to try and listen to all the call waiting music on the office phones. That’s when he meets Paula (Natalia Oreiro), a pregnant bank employee. Because of her circumstances she just happens to be in need of a stand in boyfriend to fool her visiting mother (Norma Aleandro).
In a moment of desperation, Paula turns Ezequiel into her missing boyfriend Santiago. So begin the comic romantic entanglements of “Musica en Espera.” The film doesn’t sparkle in quite the same way that the American screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s did but it does have a sense of fun that’s appealing. First time director Hernan Golfrid endows the film with a breezy pace that keeps the plot moving. He doesn’t waste time with a lot of set up or explanation but rather just throws us and Ezequiel into the midst of the comic chaos.
The film is by no means complex and it has nothing on its mind other than a desire to entertain. That makes it a perfect diversion in these dog days of summer. It also helps to have veteran actress Norma Aleandro play Paula’s mother. Alenadro brings a regal star presence to the film and adds a touch of class to the production.
Actor Diego Peretti brings a shaggy dog charm to Ezequiel. He takes to his sudden daddy-to-be status with actual tenderness and sweetness. So when Paula’s trying to cope with some discomfort from the fetus kicking and moving around, Ezequiel places headphones on her stomach and plays Bach to soothe the baby. It’s a delightful scene and reveals the growing intimacy between the two characters who only met the day before.
The film also takes some jabs at the movie industry. Ezequiel’s director comes across as rather pompous and shallow. At one point he proclaims that he will fight for the type of music Ezequiel wants to compose just as he will fight for his actress’ full frontal nude shots in the film. Art is not foremost on his mind but he’s an amusing character.
In fact, that’s one of the strengths of the film. The supporting cast of characters are all nicely drawn and given defining quirks. Paula’s boss, for instance, is obsessed with games and puzzles. So all Paula has to do to get a little free time is to distract her boss with something like a Rubik’s Cube.
There’s irony to the bright and breezy tone of the two films opening this year’s annual Cinema en tu Idioma. The film series, like the film festivals using the UltraStar Mission Valley Theaters as their venue, is in search of a new home. The theaters are set for demolition in the next couple years. But for now you can go and escape reality for a few hours with the Latin romantic comedies “Musica en Espera” and “Regressa.”
Companion viewing: "Modern Romance," "Only Human," "The Miracle of Morgan Creek"