4 September 2008 | jpschapira
There are reasons to watch it...
Mariano Mucci's "Motivos para no enamorarse" has nothing we haven't seen before, but that's something I personally try not to ask of romantic comedies. The script, by María Laura Gargarella, follows the love-life of Clara (Celeste Cid, in her first major movie role), who tells us about herself; that she likes cooking and to drink coffee with milk in a big cup. Gargarella uses a nice narration during the beginning of the film, in a scene that could be the best of the whole piece, but then we never listen to Clara's voice in off until the final moments. I think what the character says is too reflexive and complex to use it only two times; it makes no sense and it looses credibility.
The good news is that the writer really works on character development. Clara, whose real name isn't Clara, will eventually meet a man very much older than her, Teo (Jorge Marrale), whose real name also isn't Teo, and they will end up living together. I want to spare details because there are some moments that are truly magical in the movie, like a scene in the middle of the night where they first share a conversation or a scene in the middle of the night in which a train passes by.
It's the merit of Gargarella that "Motivos para no enamorarse" presents its main characters to the viewer fully; we really get to know Clara and Teo without knowing their names. Sadly, and I can't be quiet about this, every magical moment they share has no naturalness. The situations that inevitably put them face to face seem too forced and calculated, and if it weren't for the experience of someone like Marrale and the grace of Celeste Cid, things probably wouldn't have worked the same.
Mucci directs the leading couple with a lot of warmth; the camera has a way of shooting their faces that it's difficult not to feel close to them. Yes, they have undeniable chemistry-better than the one Adrián Suar shared with Valeria Bertuccelli recently-and we laugh with them and we want what they have to work. In "Un novio para mi mujer", Bertuccelli stole the show; Celeste Cid does the same thing here.
As it is said, there are roles that some actors are born to play; roles that come very close to how we picture the stars in real life. These roles, however convenient for the actors, are the most difficult to play, because a wrong step and the performances would become a banal imitation of life. Cid seems so relaxed and captures our attention so naturally that we instantly fall in love with her, and her character that is so peculiar and has friends but, if you watch closely, appears to be isolated from the world. Clara is the kind of woman who could fall for an older man and make him fall for her, even when telling him "I'm not perfect".
Nobody is perfect, and between the corny and predictable lines (and scenes) of the film, we realize the movie understands that. Mucci makes a mistake and after the movie's crucial moment, takes it too far. He tries to emphasize a dramatic approach that was already there and the film looses its timing drastically. What wasn't natural becomes less natural (not the performances, the performances are absolved) and what was forced seems even more forced.
As I said, the film has beautiful moments, and there are things I liked besides the performances: how every color of the clothes Cid wears combines perfectly with the backgrounds most of the time; a few shots involving a turtle; the precise score (someone is a Calamaro fan) and what I liked about the script.
Mucci should give it another try with the genre, maybe hire Celeste Cid again and give her a different role, focus in putting everything in order so it doesn't look as if it was done in a rush
It looks like he has a lot to show us.