2007 Certificate: tbc

Synopsis

A demure shopworker fumbles towards love with a forgotten schoolmate in this exquisite romantic comedy from Mexican debut writer-director Ernesto Contreras. Sharp, sad and - above all - very real, this boasts wonderfully warm performances from Cecilia Suarez as the singleton who wins a dream holiday for two and Enrique Arreola as the reluctant bachelor who is invited to come along.

Director

  • Ernesto Contraras

Cast

  • Cecilia Suarez

  • Enrique Arreola

  • Tiare Scanda

Review

Every year a little bird (the owner's pet) picks out the winners of a best employee competiton at a Mexico City uniform shop and the lucky contestant goes on an all-in holiday to the coast.

This time round Marina (Suarez), a dowdy store assistant, gets the golden ticket...only for her to realise that she's got no-one to go with.

A quick ring round can't rustle up any takers so she invites her sister...a less-than-honourable hussy who tries to hijack the trip to save her collapsing marriage.

Serendipity of a sort steps in when Marina runs into Victor (Arreola), an old schoolmate (although Marina can't place him), who finds himself being asked to come along.

However, before they pack their buckets and spades, they embark on a getting-to-know-you series of dates which reveal their artifical affiliation may not stand up to the rigours of a real relationship.

A date at a dancehall turns into disaster when someone pinches their seats and Marina witnesses an ineffectual Victor humiliated by the staff.

Melancholic rather than merry, director Ernesto Contreras minutely picks away at courtship rituals revealing these two serial singletons to be strangers nudged into a contrived affair.

However, there may be the possibility of fulfillment if this odd couple work out that there's more uniting them than dizzy anticipation of a sun-kissed beach and free margheritas.

This isn't the smooth path of true love - sometimes these two don't appear to really want to get it together at all.

Yet their awkwardness with each other speaks far more eloquent emotional truths than the lazy formula of the Hollywood rom-com.

Someone should give Kate Hudson a free trip to Hawaii.