29 February 2012 | frankfob
Nice little slice-of-life picture
Trini Lopez is Antonio, a poor potter in a seaside Chilean fishing village whose life is changed one day when Mark Hunter, a Texas oil millionaire (Larry Hagman, playing his J.R. Ewing character in all but name) lands in town with his brand-new Mercedes-Benz. The car breaks down almost immediately, and Mark, in a hurry to get to the capital of Santiago--and also to stay one step ahead of his ex-wife who is pursuing him--turns over the car to Antonio in return for Antonio's befriending him and heads to Santiago by bus. The car, however, changes Antonio's life in ways he doesn't want, and he packs his family into the car to drive it to Santiago and find Mark to return the car to him.
It sounds like an inoffensive enough tale, and it is, but it's not quite as bland as it may sound. Antonio runs up against a variety of different people on his way to the big city, and not all of them are the kind you'd want to run into. Lopez--also the film's producer--does a respectable job as Antonio. At first I didn't think he could carry a whole picture, but I must say I was surprised at how well he handled it. Noemi Gutierrez is quite good as his pretty and adoring wife, and Hagman seems to be having a hell of a good time, hamming it up enjoyably. There are some funny and interesting characters in Antonio's village, and the family's reactions when they first enter Santiago are fun to watch. This isn't a Disney movie, however, and there's one rather unsettling point when the car runs out of gas at night in a busy and dangerous tunnel and Antonio has to choose between leaving his family in an unknown and dangerous area and going in search of gas to get them out of it. As Antonio searches for Mark in Santiago he gets involved--in a bit of a plot stretch--with some Europeans shooting a movie there that doesn't turn out well. However, in the end--just as you'd expect--things work out.
This actually isn't a bad way to spend an hour and a half or so. The scenery is nice, the film is peopled with some interesting characters and situations, Lopez does a good job and Hagman is fun to watch. You could do much worse.