Aug 17, 2007

Movie Review: Love Expresso

"American Pie" is neatly transformed into Spanish paella in "Love Expresso," a comedy about a quartet of twentysomething emotional sub-literates that combines broken hearts and breaking wind to deja vu effect. A couple decent comic scenes and two good perfs rise above the pop soundtrack, navel-gazing and scatology. Any offshore interest is likely to stem from the fact that Hispanic teens have happily guzzled down "Expresso" and made the late June release the surprise local B.O. hit of the year.

Cocky barkeeper Javi (Asier Etxeandia), recently dumped Pedro (Alejo Sauras), conventional Dani (Javier Godino) and overweight failure Hugo (Diego Paris), who lives with his overbearing grandmother Paca (Terele Pavez), spend their lives fretting about girls. Javi falls for beautiful Alma (Elena Ballesteros); Pedro seeks revenge on his ex-g.f.'s new lover; Hugo seeks sex and finds love with Bea (Lucia Jimenez); Dani does little. Some attempts are made at grounding the stories in real emotion (Hugo is an orphan), but they're buried under an avalanche of crudeness and cliches. Paris has the makings of a decent comic talent, and dependable vet Pavez delivers a deliciously scary turn.

Camera (color), Teo Delgado; editor, Luisma del Valle; music, Mario de Benito. Reviewed at Cines Acteon, Madrid, July 11, 2007. Original title: Cafe solo o con ellas. Running time: 99 MIN.

A Buena Vista Intl. (Spain) release of a Drive Cine, Estudios Picasso production, with participation of Telecinco. Produced by Jose Manuel Lorenzo, Eduardo Campoy. Executive producer, Mario Pedraza. Directed, written by Alvaro Diaz Lorenzo.

With: Alejo Sauras, Lucia Jimenez, Asier Etxeandia, Elena Ballesteros, Inma Cuesta, Diego Paris, Javier Godino, Terele Pavez.

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