“¿Y Cómo Es Él?”, a Mexican love triangle comedy by Argentine director Ariel Winograd, translates to “And What’s He Like?”
“He”, we immediately discover, is Jero (Omar Chaparro), a taxi driver and businessman, who is the lover of Marcia (Zuria Vega), who is married to Tomás (Mauricio Ochmann).
The film opens with Tomás, our edgy protagonist, looking at photos of a rambunctious hunk on a flight to Puerto Vallarta.
Unemployed, jealous and insecure, Tómas tells Marcia that he is traveling for a job interview. He’s actually on his way to kick Jero in the ass – or taser him, or blow him to pieces with a machine gun. These violent fantasies play out in comical outbursts, but when confronted with the chance for revenge, Tómas gets cold feet. Then he accidentally stabs himself, faints and wakes up in the backseat of his nemesis.
It turns out that Jero is a nice guy – he even offers Tomás a ride back to Mexico City.
Cue the fraught male bond, which (predictably for this kind of heterosexual buddy comedy) involves a trip to a brothel and encounters with criminal debt collectors.
The film, a remake of a 2007 Korean film, translated bluntly as “Driving With My Wife’s Lover,” will seem retrograde to today’s viewers. Besides homophobic jokes, the premise is based on the idea that an adulterous wife is the greatest assault on a man’s dignity. As such, it caters to an older, more traditional Latino audience that may still be tickled by such conceit — and for whom the cast, which includes Chaparro (a prolific comedian and singer), along with several other popular Mexican personalities, will be A draw.
While Winograd questions the film’s gender bias in the conclusion, he doesn’t do so convincingly. In a quick 95 minutes at least the whole thing races past, no matter how mindless.
Y Como Es El?
Rated PG-13. In Spanish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. In theatres.