Y Tu Mama Tambien (2002)
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Review Date: May 16, 2002
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer: Alfonso Cuarón, Carlos Cuarón
Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, Jorge Vergara
Diego Luna
Gael García Bernal
Maribel Verdú
A couple of horny Mexican teens hit the open road with an unfulfilled wife and proceed to smoke up, drink, talk about sex and yes...perform the dirty deed as well. A Mexican road trip ensues.
The extreme praise on this film had just about reached its crescendo when I finally got around to seeing it, and yes, even though I too am fond of the film, my expectations for it to be this groundbreaking triumph surely mired my overall appreciation of the project. What you've got here is your basic "discovery" road picture, in which a few interesting characters jump into a car, hit the highway and drug-laced, sexual misadventures ensue (as they learn about themselves in the meantime). If this flick was American, I'm not sure if all this hype would be heralded upon it (other than for its sex scenes, which are basically soft-porn), but being as it's a foreign production, the art-house crowds are going gaga over it. I wonder if all the shots of swinging dicks frazzled some into qualifying it as "higher art" instead of just a solid flick. But before it sounds like I'm taking anything away from the picture, it's to note that this is definitely a fun, engaging, insightful and to a certain extent, original movie. Not so much "original" in the sense of its basic storyline, which we've seen in a handful of other films before, but the fact that it features a world unlike ours, a culture explored deeper than usual and Mexican characters that are going through many of the same things that many of us can relate to.

But what sets this film even more apart from your typical "coming of age" road picture are the bare-bones soft-pornesque sex scenes which litter its celluloid. And if seeing a couple of young Mexicans bang away at their girlfriends or a disenchanted wife isn't enough to wood you up, the non-sexual moments also feature them discussing sex about 70% of the time (most of it, quite humorous, incidentally). This and the fact that the characters themselves are lively and quite likeable throughout, and played extremely well by all involved, make the film that much more entertaining. I especially liked the character of Julio, played delightfully by Gael García Bernal, who kinda reminded me of that "same guy" that we all seem to have in our group of friends. This dude just wants to have a good time, and no matter when you look at him, you tend to crack up. The camaraderie and chemistry between the two leads is also undeniable and extremely appealing. I enjoyed the information presented within the narration of the movie from time to time, but the fact that it would suddenly jolt itself into the middle of a scene (and remove all sound before it), took me out of the picture a few times. The film also carries an underlying existential message throughout, with the melancholic ending leaving you with something more to remember than just its graphic sex scenes.

It's also the kind of movie that makes you want to get up from your seat, drive over to your travel agent, order some tickets to Mexico, pack a few rubbers, t-shirts and hopefully, never come back. Even though much of what we see on-screen is the Mexican back roads, the pure nature of it all, the beauty of the settings, the atmosphere, the people...make for a delightful time. The film's also draped in symbolism, so if you look close enough, I'm sure that you will discover half a dozen more reasons why this film is "deep" for you, but for me, I enjoyed it for what it was, and it delivered in laughs, moments of surprise, drama and beauty. The sex scenes were also extremely graphic and many of them unedited, so that you really get a sense of these people fucking for real. What makes it even stranger is that unlike porno movies, all of the actors here are very good and their encounters aren't just about not having enough money to pay the pizza-man, there's an actual story too! There are lots of discoveries made throughout this trip, some for the characters, some for the audience, and hopefully, some to whoever is open-minded enough to watch the film (yes, cousins fuck within!) with their own naked eye. BTW, this film plays in Mexican with English subtitles and the title means "And Your Mother Too" in our native tongue.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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