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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.49%
Average: 8.26%
Pretty Bad: 3.31%
Total Crap: 4.13%

6 reviews, 85 user ratings

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Y Tu Mama Tambien
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Fine, erotic character comedy from Mexico."
4 stars

In the sex comedy 'Y Tu Mamá También,' which dominated the Mexican box office, two teenage boys facing the dusk of their high-school lives find themselves on a road trip with an attractive older woman.

One of the boys, Julio (Gael García Bernal), comes from a much humbler background than the other, Tenoch (Diego Luna), whose family is ostentatiously wealthy; yet they have a lot in common, starting with a teenager's devotion to raunchiness. With each other, they brag about what they do in bed with their girlfriends; the reality, as we see it in the film's opening minutes, is a bit more flailing and abrupt. Their travelling companion is Luisa Cortés (Maribel Verdú), the wife of a pompous and pathetic writer. Perhaps close to thirty, she's missed out on a lot of fun. For her own reasons, she takes the boys up on their offer to tag along for a weekend ride to a beach.

Y Tu Mamá También is a return to roots by the Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, who came to America in the '90s to direct such neo-classical eye candy as A Little Princess and Great Expectations. The new movie is considerably franker and rougher-edged; the MPAA, in its infinitesimal wisdom, refused to let the film slide with an R rating, thus depriving the American Julios and Tenoches in the audience of seeing a truthful but warmly composed reflection of themselves. (It's permissible, of course, for teenagers to enter the MPAA-approved sex-equals-slaughterhouse world of Jason X.) As with all movies the MPAA apparently considers too explicit, Y Tu Mamá También is not too explicit -- merely honest and unblinking. The sex scenes are generally played more for frantic comedy than for eroticism, which of course makes them more erotic.

Julio and Tenoch throw a bunch of junk into Julio's borrowed car and scoop up Luisa at her antiseptic apartment. Something about the noisy squalor of the car, and the noisy enthusiasm of the boys, seems to unlock Luisa; something else does, too. Before the trip, we see her sitting in a doctor's waiting room, and though I won't reveal why, you can probably guess why; doctors are never mentioned in movies unless the very fact of them portends something grim. In any event, during the course of the journey, Luisa -- whose husband has called her with the drunken, sobbing news that he's just cheated on her -- singles out the boys for sexual play, first Tenoch in her motel room, then Julio in the back seat of his car, then both at once at the end of a tequila-flavored night.

Many articles have bundled Y Tu Mamá También together with 2000's ferocious triptych of love, Amores Perros, partly because of the angle that there's something new and exciting going on in Latino cinema, partly because both films share an actor, the amiable and soulful Gael García Bernal. I don't think Y Tu Mamá También is nearly as richly textured or as provocative as Amores Perros, but the comparison is bankrupt anyway; Y Tu Mamá También is to Amores Perros as, say, American Pie is to Pulp Fiction -- both fine entertainments, but one generally seeks only to amuse, whereas the other is a fuller, denser package.

At times, Y Tu Mamá También tries to be deeper than it needs to be. At regular intervals, a narrator interrupts the proceedings to inform us in dispassionate voiceover about facts and events irrelevant to the action. The irrelevance says "art"; it's a comment on mundane life marching on around the realized sex fantasy of the boys (and of the woman). And Luisa's character arc is a little too "Seize the day" for my taste; the revelation of her secret shames and humbles the boys, who were only out for a fun getaway. Foreign films (the overpraised Amélie is another recent example) are threatening to become as glibly life-affirming as any American Chicken Soup for the Soul fable financed by Miramax in search of Oscars.

Still, 'Y Tu Mamá También' offers a shot of wise, freshly etched character comedy in a time when it's desperately needed. Once again, a foreign director shows Hollywood what Hollywood should always be doing but has presumably forgotten how.

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originally posted: 01/18/07 03:29:36
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/05/18 morris campbell not bad kind of sad 4 stars
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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