DRAMA , . Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (18) 105mins 0000

Aims straight for the money shot

One thing always annoys me in films: unrealistic sex scenes. Specifically, the manner in which actors disrobe during foreplay, or before going straight for the money shot. Never a leg caught in a pair of trousers, or a sock that won’t come off - in one frame the clothes are on, in the next they’re nowhere

to be seen.

Not so in Y Tu Mama También (And Your Mother Too). During one of the film’s many sex scenes, Mexico City teenager Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal - the handsome lad from Amores Perros) fits in a fast fuck with his girlfriend, who’s about to go off travelling around Europe. Downstairs the girl’s parents are calling for her to set off for the airport; upstairs she and Julio and pulling up tops and down pants. It’s a funny, fumbling sex scene that’s much like real life and little like Hollywood love-making.

It’s exactly this kind of upbeat, raunchy realism that informs the rest of director Alfonso Cuaron’s film. Essentially, it’s a road movie (with lots of shagging). The trip begins when Julio and childhood friend Tenoch (Diego Luna) convince gorgeous older Spanish woman Luisa (Maribel Verdu) to join them on the road to an unspoilt beach known as ‘Heaven’s Mouth’. The horny boys’ plan is to get into Luisa’s pants, which, as it turns out, she is quite happy with, fucked off at having to dump her unfaithful husband. Of course, when Luisa fucks first Diego and then Julio, the emotionally immature boys fall out, and it’s left to their more experienced partner to teach them something about love.

Sticking to the conventions of the road movie, the development of the characters the resolution of the boys’ temporarily stalled friendship, their emotional maturing, Luisa coming to terms with the loss of her husband - is defined through a series of incidents en route to their destination. Most beautiful (and erotic) of these is a three-way love scene during which Luisa gets the boys to kiss and make up.

The cast give Cuarén flawless performances. Bernal and Luna, childhood friends in real life, are utterly credible in their on screen recreation of that friendship in all its chaotic, noisy detail. Verdu, the far more experienced performer (see also her Spanish films Salsa Rosa and Belle Epoque), brings great sensitivity to her role, making for a neat foil to Bernal and Luna. She’s the calm at the eye at the

centre of the teenage storm.

And good on Cuarén and co-writer and brother Carlos for making a drama at once tender and boisterous, feelgood and full of pathos, and wholly free of cliche. (Miles Fielder) I General release from Fri 72 Apr. See feature. page 24.

SCIENCE FICTION K-PAX (12) 121 mins .0

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Hollywood-style syrup

Isn't the whole ponit of a feelgood film to make you feel good’? Yup. thought so. K—PAX fails miserably. I came out of the cinema wanting to tear the throats out of every single person involved in the making of this travesty. The first person to go would have to he Gene Brewer. the author of the hook on which the film is based. Not that it's a bad book M on the contrary. it is

one of my faVOurites. and has been for a number of years. No. he deserves to die for letting this beautiful. simple tale be so sugar- coated by Hollywood that it bears absolutely no resemblance to his original work. I hope the money was worth it. Brewer.

Then there's KeVin Spacey. When I found out he'd be playing the lead. ! was thrilled. I thought he'd be perfect. I was wrong. Theoretically. the role is made for him: a gentle. unassuming alien (or is he?) from the planet K-PAX. who Visits Earth and ends up in a mental institution where he genially allows psychiatrist Jeff Bridges to try to ‘cure' him. while at the same time managing to cure his fellow patients and sort out Bridges' life too. l-lov-rever. instead of the loveable ch'iracter of the book. who bears a resemblance to Saint—Exupery's Little Prince, he plays Prot as a

cross between his character in The Usual Suspects and Robin Williams in any of his vomit- inducing roles.

Perhaps my reaction is a little extreme. after all. there are some nice touches in the film. But the technicians are to be thanked for those: Prot travels on a beam of light. and certain scenes are highlighted by the use of concentrated and retracted light. giVing the film a dream-like quality at times. As aesthetically pleasing as that is. it doesn't succeed in diverting your attention from the fact that this is a bland and uninsi.)iring waste of a good story.

By all means go and see K- PAX. but do yourselves a favour: after you've seen it. go and buy the book to wash the syrupy taste out of your mouth.

(Kirsty Knaggsl I General release from Fri 12 Apr.


MARTIAL ARTS THE ONE (15) 87min .0

Action films thrive on the unbelievable. The trick is getting people to run with it. And The One. a movie in which procedure. like windows. is made to be broken. emphatically doesn't. It borrows a fair bit from Time Cop (which saw Jean-Claude Van Damme battle with his own double and an execrable script). as well as taking visual cues from The Matrix and plot strands from Highlander.

Yulow (Jet Li) is a power-hungry criminal. who has determined that by killing his 124 body doubles Currently inhabiting the multiverse's various universes. he can achieve godlike powers. He's up to number 123 when he stumbles across a w0rthy adversary. LA cop Gabe (Jet Li. flexing those glorious acting muscles again). Gabe apparently inhabits our world. although given that a TV in the corner of one room is showing George Bush announcing ‘universal healthcare'. that seems rather unlikely. So Yulow chases Gabe. before popping his wife which gives Gabe an excuse to get angry and chase after him. Yulow is pursued. meanwhile. by Roedecker (Delroy Lindo) and Funsch (a woefully miscast Jason Statham‘). two incompetent multiverse policemen. Things get complicated when. in a moment of far-Sighted wisdom and tenuous plotting. Gabe puts on exactly the same shirt and trousers as Yulow. which means no one (least of all the audience) can tell them apart.

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Unbelievably derivative

There are all sorts of holes in The One. but while The Matrix got away with its abject silliness by being deeply cool and pseudo-intellectual. this martial arts vehicle has no such props. And while Li's fight scenes are technically impressive. seeing one Supernaturally hard individual swap kicks with another while some no— brain metal band trashes their instruments in the backgrOund can be a decidedly empty spectacle. If Li is to fulfil his promise. he's gomg to have to do a hell of a lot better than this. (James Smart)

I General release from Fri 72 Apr.

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