18 October 2002 | Mickey Knox
I don't know what to say about this movie. In the end I was confused. There are so many very good moments, and yet so many very bad ones, that I don't even know if I liked it or not.
The idea is very good. A poor bus driver on the verge of killing himself is persuaded by another person to "postpone" his death for a week, borrow 100 million dollars from the Mob and live like the rich men. And after the week is up, when he'll have to pay back the loaned money, he can easily kill himself.
That's the concept. You have to admit, it's pretty damn interesting. But from this point everything changes.
Sometimes the characters are very interesting. Both the bus driver and his new love are okay, well built, you get to care from them a lot. They have strong life concepts, opinions about the rich and the poor, and they follow these concepts. But... Sometimes the characters change so much and so fast... it almost becomes awful. Both Lola and Martin are different from one scene to another. And if in Lola's case that's pretty understandable, after you "really" get to know who she is, in Martin's case it's just wrong.
Sometimes the action is great. Memorable scenes, funny moments, witty dialog. A great, pleasant watch. But... Sometimes the plot holes are bigger then Swiss cheese. There are moments where the characters choose exactly the worst option they have, just because they need to, to keep the plot moving forward. And one of the most interesting themes that could have been used is totally left out: the moments BEFORE Martin's time expires. The scenes could have been great, the tension could have been high. Still we jump exactly to 12:01, and I just felt a bit betrayed.
Sometimes the actors are great. The guy that plays Martin (which i have never seen before) is very good. Salma Hayek is at her best. They have some sort of weird chemistry between them and everything works fine. But... Sometimes the acting is almost pathetic. Take the "first kiss" scene, for instance. When Salma says "Not today". It was so ridiculously acted, that I actually started laughing out loud. And that's not the only moment.
All in all, La Gran Vida is an enjoyable movie. An enjoyable movie with pathetic, stupid moments. A great concept that could have been done so much better. Vote: 5 out of 10.