Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shall We Go to the Movies?

Jewish Ritual and Mariachi Bands

Any comedy that can combine death, abortion, Jewish ritual and a mariachi band without curdling into complete lunacy deserves a modicum of respect. In the case of “My Mexican Shivah,” more would be pushing it.

What raises this uninhibited hybrid above C level is a director, Alejandro Springall, with a flair for the surreal and a cast that knows its way around a stereotype. Set in a Jewish section of Mexico City, the movie participates in the disastrous mourning of a pleasure-loving paterfamilias (Sergio Kleiner) who has keeled over at a party after one too many horahs. While multiple plotlines and myriad dysfunctions jostle for our attention — the obligatory shiksa mistress being only the least of them — a pair of wizened Jewish angels tally the deceased’s moral ledger with the creativity of an Enron accountant.


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