With a poster that features a sultry young woman in a come-hither pose that makes it look more like a fragrance ad than a movie, the Spanish-language melodrama “La Mujer de mi Hermano” more or less promises an array of tantalizing erotic delights to anyone willing to fork over the price of a ticket. However, what makes for a great poster doesn’t always make for a great film and this one pretty much proves that fact. This is a tired and deeply silly rehash of the oldest soap-opera cliches imaginable and if there is any heavy breathing to be heard, it will be coming from dozing audience members. In fact, the only real suspense that this film generates comes from the question of whether or not gorgeous star Barbara Mori will ever get around to taking off her clothes. (We’ll get to that a bit later.)Mori plays Zoe, a passionate young woman with a zest for life–you can tell because she wants to wear an ultra-slinky dress to Mass–who is inexplicably married to professional dullard Ignacio (Christian Meier), a person so unmanly and unfulfilling that he can’t even give her the child that she so desperately wants. (Let us just say that subtlety is not one of the strong points of this film, though I’d be hard-pressed to name what are.) She confesses her unhappiness to Ignacio’s estranged brother Gonzalo (Manolo Cardona), a tempestuous and passionate artistic type of the kind who carefully cultivates his studiously boorish behavior in what can only be an attempt to deflect away from the fact that he really isn’t much of an artist. After putting up what barely qualifies as a token struggle with her emotions, Zoe begins rumpling the sheets with Gonzalo on a regular basis.
If you have seen even one soap-opera episode in your life–or even if you haven’t–you should have no trouble whatsoever in figuring out what shocking plot developments lay ahead for Zoe. (Suffice it to say, she is apparently under the impression that a husband’s infertility transfers to the wife upon marriage and the results of this misapprehension are dire.) As a result, the twists have little impact because anyone with a functioning brain cell–i.e. anyone who isn’t a character in the film itself–will find themselves at least five steps ahead of the people on the screen. To give the film credit, it does throw in one unanticipated development when it reveals the real source of the life-long tension between Ignacio and Gonzalo. The problem there is that this particular revelation is way too heavy to fit in with the otherwise feather-brained proceedings and the filmmakers have no idea of how to come to terms with the matter–after introducing it at around the two-thirds mark, it then just ignores it completely instead of actually dealing with it. For all I know, the original script may have dealt with it more fully (trust me, it isn’t something that a rational person would just blindly drop into the proceedings) until it was discovered that the actors–all of them pretty and pretty vacant–simply weren’t up to the task of handling it.Which brings us back to the sole burning question at the heart of “La Mujer de mi Hermano”–does Barbara Mori take off her clothes at some point during the film in a desperate bid to keep viewers from heading for the exits early? (Spoiler Warning!) Nope–although she is dressed alluringly throughout, she always manages to remain just covered up enough to inspire groans of annoyance from the less artistically inclined audience members. My suggestion–skip the film entirely and devote the 89 minutes you would have otherwise waster to doing a Google image search of Mori. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.