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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 20.83%
Average: 8.33%
Pretty Bad: 3.33%
Total Crap: 4.17%

6 reviews, 84 user ratings

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Y Tu Mama Tambien
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Brian McKay

"My Big Fat Mexican Threesome"
5 stars

Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN is one of those films I'd been meaning to get around to. Now that I finally have, I'm wondering why I didn't sooner. Once again, a quality little foreign film manages to make 80 percent of what's produced in the States look like "pura cacita" (dog shit).

Part road trip movie (think Fandango, not Road Trip), part coming of age tale, Y Tu Mama Tambien is one of those cinematic joys that delivers most of its pleasure through a combination of rich character development and fantastic performances. The plot, while also strong, is secondary to the characters, just as the destination is secondary to the journey the three protagonists take together.

Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal) are teenagers and best friends growing up in Mexico City. Unlike the majority of teenagers living in the slums of that overcrowded metropolis, they come from more privileged backgrounds. While Julio's family is more upper-middle class, Tenoch truly has a pampered lifestyle thanks to winning the lotto and being born into a rich family (rich enough that the President of Mexico shows up to their family weddings). The two boys are insufferably good-looking and full of energy. They spend their idle days indulging in drinking, bongloads, and dropping Ecstasy, and have the libido of jackrabbits after a quadruple latte' - which their girlfriends are more than happy to help them satisfy. It's easy to want to hate the spoiled little pretty rich boy shits - but if I were seventeen again and had the kind of looks and money they do, I'd be doing the exact same thing (and it's nice to see that stoned teenagers are the same in every culture. See folks, we really are part of one big human family!).

When their girlfriends go vacationing off to Rome for the summer (after swearing not to "fuck any Italian guys", a promise they have no intention of keeping), boredom sets in. They go to a family wedding and run into Jano (Juan Carlos Remolina), Tenoch's older cousin. Now a pompous writer, Jano bends their ear before going off to meet El Presidente'. They also encounter Jano's wife, Luisa (Maribel Verdu'), a gorgeous Spaniard. Smitten with her beauty and their own hormones, they invite her to go on a road trip with them to a beautiful and isolated beach - only problem is, it doesn't exist. They just made it up on the spot to try and impress her, because that's the kind of thing they like to do. She of course turns them down politely. However, when her husband confesses to her that he has had his share of infidelities, she packs her bags and calls Tenoch to tell him that she's ready to go. The boys, as you might guess, are ecstatic, since they think they're going to get laid. Turns out, they're right - although they have no concept of Luisa's real motivations or the price their dalliance with her will exact on their friendship.

The resulting road trip is very funny, and at times very emotional as Luisa struggles with feelings of guilt and betrayal, accompanied by deeper burdens that she keeps to herself. Despite their spoiled, brazen, and over-exuberant personalities, it's hard not to like Tenoch and Julio, and Luisa obviously feels the same way. She not only becomes their friend and lover, but a mother figure in the strange, albeit temporary little nuclear family that they forge on the road. Sometimes she looks upon them as equals, sometimes as little children, but she is always in control. Sadly, that control does not extend to her own destiny.

There's rarely a slow or insignificant scene in Y Tu Mama Tambien. Virtually every moment is another layer on the complexity of the characters. Yes, there's a goodly amount of sex (whenever a film starts right off with a pair of teenagers en flagrante delicto, I must say it has my attention), but the sex, or even the sex appeal, is not what really sticks out in the post-viewing memory. The dynamic that exists between the three characters, as they are put to tests and explore both each others and their own boundaries, are what keeps the film so riveting (not that we mind seeing people getting their freak on, either). These two kids (although both are actually in their early 20's) act the hell out of their roles, delivering a fully immersive and believable friendship that goes beyond brotherhood. At times Tenoch and Julio seem like two halves of the same individual - a delicate balance that the emotionally vulnerable and sensual Luisa puts precariously off kilter. Their bond is threatened repeatedly, even managing to survive the confessions of infidelity with each other’s girlfriends (after a powerhouse scene that is the best example of unbridled machismo you're likely to see on film). However, their final night spent with Luisa poses the ultimate challenge to their friendship.

And what can I say about Luisa? Maribel Verdu' is simply stunning. A gorgeous woman with a body that refuses to quit and more than ample acting chops to back it up, she is absolutely radiant here. All of her actions make perfect sense, once the viewer is granted the hindsight of a blindsiding revelation that is as stirring as it is appropriate. She is immaculate in every scene, every line, every backward glance at the boys that is filled with something akin to longing or tenderness.

The only aspect of the film that could be perceived as a flaw is the frequent moments of silence followed by an external narrative that briefly relates tangential plot elements by discussing things from either the past or future that are seemingly unrelated at first. However, although a bit jarring, they soon find their place in the flow of the film and serve a similar purpose to that of the lightning-fast photo montages' used by Tom Tykwer in Run Lola Run. By the end of the film, the narratives segments transcend from seeming completely superfluous statements to crucial bridges in the progression of the story.

The DVD has some fine extras, including a few deleted scenes that should have been kept in, a "making of" documentary, and an amusing short film produced by director Alfonso Cuarón and directed by writer Carlos Cuarón, Me la debes ("You owe me one").

Sexy, beautiful, hysterical, mesmerizing - aw fuck it, I don't want to get into an Thesarus fest. Suffice it to say that Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN is one of the finest pieces of film I've seen in a while. You need to see it, and your Mama too. Just put your hand over her eyes during all the shagging.

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originally posted: 02/26/03 14:09:18
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/01/10 User Name Like American Pie- except more intelligent. And Spanish.. 4 stars
5/09/07 Nic what can i say other than- offering a dream like exsistance with super sexy stars 5 stars
8/02/06 Agent Sands Comfy, atmospheric, incredibly sexual slice of life. 5 stars
11/23/05 Jin Smut. I can get this with any trashy american film 1 stars
7/20/05 Chris Its the smarter Mexican version of American Pie 5 stars
12/08/04 Selene I love it 5 stars
10/28/04 Daveman Alfonso Cuaron proves himself to be one of the greatest contemporary directors. 5 stars
8/22/04 tatum Touching, sad, and sexy as hell 5 stars
8/06/04 Maureen Loved it. 5 stars
5/27/04 DM Smart, funny and frank, but the leads pissed me off at times 4 stars
5/07/04 Ross slow story line, almost to the point of boring. 2 stars
2/04/04 glenn george menor one of the best.. very rare.. very true.. 5 stars
12/15/03 asdf 1234 5 stars
12/02/03 matt okay not that great! 3 stars
11/20/03 HorrorScribbler Hypnotic. The final revelation pulls everything together. 4 stars
11/12/03 kimberley h. This movie offers a lot to the viewers, more than that meets the eye. 5 stars
9/28/03 Harry Clearly one of the best crossover roadtrip movies made. 5 stars
8/13/03 lm excellent... 5 stars
8/06/03 Lorenz Esguerra Amazing movie! So engaging! 4 stars
5/21/03 mr. Pink One of the best movies of 2002. A passionate, moving, hilarious, sexy classic in the making 5 stars
5/16/03 Piz Slow starting out but an overall winner 4 stars
3/25/03 Maegs I loved this movie... 5 stars
2/26/03 y2mckay Triangle man, Triangle man, said it better than I can 5 stars
2/04/03 Drunk Love Y tu mama tambien, eh Triangle Man? 4 stars
1/09/03 Goofy Maxwell "We can do a little sumthin' sumthin", but can we still B friends? 4 stars
1/06/03 Jade Ramirez Years' Best! 5 stars
1/04/03 Vikki This was well, well worth the view!!!!!! 5 stars
1/01/03 Andy Todes if you rate this less than 4 stars it's a travesty. what was the last film YOU made? 5 stars
12/28/02 Stevo Funny, fast, sexy, moving, everything; great movie 5 stars
12/08/02 Phil M. Aficionado Almost awesome. Earthy, gritty, kooky, and entertaining. 4 or 5? See it and decide. 4 stars
12/02/02 Ange Cook an amazing film that should be seen by all; unstoppable 5 stars
11/29/02 Gaiia excellent!!! 5 stars
11/06/02 brentley Excellent movie, from start to finish. 5 stars
11/02/02 beatriz a nice quest for self-knowledge......i would'nt mind going on a trip with those two.. 5 stars
10/27/02 Diana What I would give,to spend one night with Tenoch and Julio 5 stars
10/24/02 jamierich If you want a male bonding flick, see Jules and Jim, not this pale copy. 1 stars
10/24/02 Catstepper Sadly inevitable ending 5 stars
10/22/02 oscar this is just reality, the best I've seen. muy bueno 5 stars
10/12/02 kron awesome....they should premeir it in the usa 5 stars
10/09/02 mirko lujan amores perros (love's a bitch) is a great film too... 3 stars
10/04/02 Joaquin Santiago Great movie! Also worth watching is "Amores Perros" 5 stars
9/23/02 yavanna very hot and sexy 5 stars
9/04/02 wintermute pretty dull, wish they had tacked some interesting characters into it. 2 stars
8/22/02 Pierce Lanson VERY sexy,VERY open, VERY revealing (of onesself), VERY excellent 5 stars
6/08/02 ownerofdajoint what a great fucking movie!it'll stay with you/take your thoughts down some different roads 5 stars
5/29/02 Allenda A waste of money despite some cute guys getting naked. 1 stars
5/29/02 brentley Excellent movie! Stunning visuals, emotional acting & an all-around great story. 5 stars
5/29/02 simon templar gorgeous people great story 5 stars
5/27/02 marmlstein fab 5 stars
5/26/02 Bonnie I wanna see it again! 5 stars
5/26/02 john c. smith wow 5 stars
5/25/02 Bulaklak Very funny and realistic. 4 stars
5/24/02 jessica One of the best movies I've seen. Five stars. 5 stars
5/23/02 Jamie It was good 5 stars
5/22/02 Dave K Excellent movie. Loved the hotties!! 5 stars
5/22/02 Carol Like Mexico, it's beautiful, sad and rejoices in life 5 stars
5/20/02 Ben Wilson a fresh, raw, real movie that leaves you thinking 5 stars
5/20/02 Erica it was so great 5 stars
5/19/02 lex Great film. beautiful, heartbreaking, irreverent...!!!Fabulous. 5 stars
5/19/02 Louis Mexican Porn, straight and simple 2 stars
5/17/02 Carlos Jaramillo This movie is great on many levels 5 stars
5/16/02 natasha about what you lose and gain in the process of growing up 5 stars
5/14/02 Karen ( can't wait for the DVD 5 stars
5/14/02 mslemon unbelievable...not just a sex much more 5 stars
5/13/02 Nick2k good movie. but not excellent. i think sex (like mullholland dr) gave it 100% with critics. 4 stars
5/13/02 me oh man, this movie has so many awesome levels to it, its insane! 5 stars
5/12/02 westchamp unbelievably good - about life, what you miss, what you pass by 5 stars
5/12/02 carlos Like watching real life unfold on the screen which films should be all about. 5 stars
5/10/02 Ella A nice glimpse of upper class Mexican life...good character building. 4 stars
5/10/02 cwsox one of the most amazing films ever; the script reveals more each time I see it 5 stars
5/10/02 Gordo great movie with a surprising twist at the end 5 stars
4/30/02 Rob uplifting rites of passage 5 stars
4/29/02 Ralph Deeds Quite a good movie but not as good as Amores Perros or American Beauty. 4 stars
4/29/02 Todd Plummer A great litmus test for a new romance -- if you're secure in your own sexuality. 5 stars
4/29/02 mark goode fantastic movie - even better with your girlfriend 5 stars
4/29/02 melania the movie misses 1 stars
4/10/02 C_nemo the peakover is a very neat touch since it doen't just say what is going on right now 5 stars
4/09/02 KoHawk siggy 1 stars
4/09/02 wintermute I agree, more nudity was necessary for that 5th star. 3 stars
3/30/02 System of a Down Movie needed more nudity 2 stars
3/28/02 Goose Road movie+Alfonso Cuaron+good writing+social insight into modern-day Mexico= Bad ass movie 5 stars
3/23/02 Heather Very funny, explicit, sexy movie about two young men and their road trip with an older woma 5 stars
3/21/02 Otis Buckshot This is a wonderful movie about relationships, sex, and being young 4 stars
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  29-Mar-2002 (R)


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