Y tu mamá también (2001) (R)
Before becoming an Oscar winning director, known more for his special effects and science fiction/fantasy background, Alfonso Cuarón made the much revered and controversial "Y tu mama también" which recently got itself a place on the Criterion Collection.
A road trip movie, a sexual experiment, a loss of innocence drama, adolescence—there's a lot going on in the movie, but I'm not sure it has enough substance to merit its story.
There are two friends, Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal) who are both dating girls right now. When their girlfriends leave for the summer, boredom ensues and although they are abusively jealous of their girlfriends cheating on them, they have no problem being the cheaters. They decide that they will go to a party and hook up, which doesn't work that well. Instead, they find themselves very much in the dog days of summer, wishing for the boredom to end.
Cuarón, who already co-wrote the script, is very keen on the idea of making sure that adolescence is sexualized. In a Fellini-esque fashion, it seems to be the all-consuming fire that blazes in the minds of our boys. They are always teasing each other about their penises, or mutually masturbating into a pool. The film's stance on sexuality is so laissez faire that you almost begin to question what the point of it all is, for it certainly must have a point for being so present.
For this reason alone, the actors deserve applause, because while not jarring like "Shame" or "In the Realm of the Senses" or even "Oldboy", these actors have to go through a lot and that much deserves recognition.
"Y tu mama también" doesn't have a whole lot of plot hanging around; but it does attempt to make us slightly interested in the vagrancies that we see.
At an important wedding, the dangerous duo meet one of Tenoch's cousin's wife, Luisa (Maribel Verdú). Both very interested in the bright future she has behind her, they try to seduce her by inviting her to the beach, a made-up vacation spot called "Heaven's Mouth". They cheap tricks don't work, but when Luisa finds out her husband has been cheating on her, she decides that a change is in order.
She breaks the monotony of the boys' life and asks to be taken to the beach, which is easier said than done when you're talking about a place that doesn't exists.
Determined on having a good time no matter what the costs, the boys decide to wing it and hope for the best. So off they go, sure to explore new things, wound each other, and become the most separate of friends.
"Y tu mama también" is very bleak underneath it all. It's not a nice picture to watch with your parents (just don't do it) and it certainly didn't edify me at all. It seems like the kind of movie that is attempting to say that it's okay to make mistakes when you're young because they're not really mistakes; but it could also be about living life to its fullest with no regrets.
Whatever the case, though it is a lot to choke down, Cuarón's movie is surprisingly heart warming, if a bit over-indulgent in its own peculiarities.
What bothers me about the movie is mostly a personal reaction to the story; but it could also be boiled down to a simple matter of taste. There is nothing wrong with this movie, it's perfectly acceptable and no glaring errors stand out. That being said, it's not a good movie either because it doesn't dare like it should. It doesn't soar like it could have and it certainly doesn't make you think.
In the end, I'm just wondering, what it was all about.
Posted by Micah Jones