Y Tu Mama Tambien (and Your Mother Too)

on March 15, 2002 by Kevin Courrier
   After charming audiences with the sophisticated and lyrical fairytale "A Little Princess" and the sumptuous and satisfying "Great Expectations," director Alfonso Cuaron returns to his Mexican homeland to make the sexually rowdy and wildly funny road movie "Y tu mama tambien." The tone of this energetic and boldly provocative film, which won the Best Screenplay Award at the Venice Film Festival, has little in common with his previous two outings. Try imagining a more delinquent version of Truffaut's "Jules and Jim," or, perhaps, some of the roughhouse friskiness of Bertrand Blier's "Going Places."

   While their girlfriends are on holiday in Italy, two 17-year-old friends, Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna), look forward to a summer of sexual frolic. They get sidetracked, however, by Tenoch's cousin's 28-year-old wife, Luisa (Maribel Verdu), who has just discovered that her husband has had an affair. The boys, who meet her at a wedding, devise a plan to seduce her by asking her to join them on a trip to an imaginary beach on the Oaxacan coast. Surprisingly, she agrees to take part. But while they revel in their adolescent fantasies, Luisa is trying to deal with very adult sexual and emotional yearnings. So rather than the boys getting the better of Luisa, she separately seduces both of them, which not only reveals the fragility of their friendship, but the underpinnings of their masculine bravura.

   "Y tu mama tambien" has some of the same combustible comic elements that made hits of movies like "American Pie," or "Road Trip," but Cuaron shows a far more restless intelligence that rehabilitates the genre. He goes far inside these characters so that we see how sex, and the character's feelings about sex, are an intricate part of their inner drives and anxieties. "Y tu mama tambien," with a cocky smile, puts the fear and lust back in sex. Starring Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Written by Carlos Cuaron and Alfonso Cuaron. Produced by Jorge Vergara and Alfonso Cuaron. An IFC release. Drama. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 101 min

Tags: Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Alfonso Cuaron, Carlos Cuaron, Jorge Vergara, IFC, Drama, Spanish, affair, adult, lust, road trip, life-changing, wedding, Mexico, emotional

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