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MR. BEAKS Is Back In The Saddle With A Look At Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN!! Great F**king Movie... Literally!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

I've got my own review of this film coming later today. I will say that I recommend it highly, and that I think it's one of those cases where the ratings system in America has failed the public completely. This film shouldn't be an NC-17, even though it would be if the MPAA got their hands on it, and it shouldn't have to face the difficulties of an unrated release. It has more to say about the reality of youth and sex and friendship than every gross out teen comedy in America in the past five years, and deserves wide distribution so it can be seen.

Enough of what I think, though. Here's my favorite online reviewer, Mr. Beaks, back after a brief break and gearing up for his move to Los Angeles. Can't wait to see you when you get here, man. Let's see what you've got for us today...

Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (d. Alfonso Cuaron, w. Carlos & Alfonso Cuaron)

Meet Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna), or, better yet, run. Run from Julio and Tenoch before they bugger you seventeen-and-a-half ways to Sunday, for these boys, taken as a whole beast, are a wide open Pandora's Box of teenage carnality. What's worse, their sexually accommodating girlfriends have flown off to Italy on vacation, leaving them, literally, masturbating poolside at Tenoch's politically connected (re: corrupt) father's mansion, launching their young, potent seed off the diving board and into the wide, blue, olympic-sized yonder like sticky, white Greg Lougani.

Oh, but such satisfaction is maddeningly temporary; even after an evening's ecstasy-fueled exploits, the boys come down desperately seeking a human outlet for their insatiable sexual appetite. Their search, however, remains futile; that is, until Luisa (Maribel Verdu), the thirty-something wife of Tenoch's dashingly effete cousin, appears. The boys descend upon her at a classy societal gathering with the ravenous, scavenger-like ferociousness of a jackal. Sniffing out her loneliness and dormant love life, they ask her to accompany them on a road trip to a non-existent oceanside paradise, an offer she politely declines until she inadvertently discovers her husband has been carrying on an affair with another woman. Shocked, and emotionally devastated, Luisa impulsively contacts Julio, indicating her desire to get away ASAP; a wish this delighted, Dionysian Duo grant all too happily.

The ensuing libidinal odyssey makes for one of the finest, most accurate and certainly most explicit depictions of late-teenage sexuality ever filmed - so refreshingly bacchanal that IFC Films apparently didn't even bother to submit the movie to the Puritan MPAA, an organization comprised of what one can only presume to be sick individuals who believe graphic violence is more socially acceptable than sensuality. While it's a relief that the film is being presented uncut, the lack of the ratings board's approval ensures that those outside of major cities will have to wait for DVD, which is a shame since, like the best comedies, this is a movie best experienced with an audience.

Obviously, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN has its share of shockingly brusque moments, but what sets it apart from the PORKY'S set is the palpable humanity brought to the work by director Alfonso Cuaron, who also co-wrote with his brother, Carlos. Known best in the U.S. for his acclaimed, if little seen, A LITTLE PRINCESS, as well as the colorful, if largely unsuccessful, Paltrow-fied update of GREAT EXPECTATIONS, Cuaron, shedding the heavy stylization of those previous movies, returned to his native Mexico with the expressed intent of making a no-frills answer to the glut of unrealistic teen films which have cluttered the multiplexes over the last several years. Taking a cue from his son's experiences, Cuaron and longtime collaborator, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, set out to capture the awakening - scratch that - *awakened* and rabid sexuality of an eighteen year-old in all its raw glory, and all on a budget which probably wouldn't have covered the craft services on either of his last two films.

This fearless, balls-out artistic approach freed up Cuaron and Lubezki to indulge their wildest filmmaking impulses, resulting in a some truly inventive staging. One of the best moments has Luisa shedding the boys as her dance partners to take a turn with the audience; an idea that could've fallen flat in the wrong hands, but, instead, exhilarates thanks to Lubezki's smooth execution. This ramshackle approach also loosened up the writers to insert tangential, Godard-ian asides via voice-over addressing everything from a non-descript roadside stop's history to the fate of a wandering pack of wild pigs. These non-sequitors, dropped in seemingly from out of nowhere, are perfectly integrated into the film's organic tapestry, and lend the film a shaggy, cosmic charm.

With the filmmakers off on a lark, the actors respond with a trio of wonderfully endearing performances. Garcia-Bernal and Luna, bearing the most difficult assignment of making these two horndogs likeable, veer from bratty to sympathetic with astonishing ease. Even at their most obnoxious, though, they suggest the thoughtful adults that lie beneath the surface, which may be the film's greatest triumph, as it allows the audience to, mostly, excuse their childish behavior. As the older object of the boys' affection, Verdu, a Spanish screen mostly unknown to U.S. audiences, exudes a measured, compassionate sexuality, but can smolder when called upon, and will leave many a young man pining for a tryst with their own Luisa. Still, the performances are best considered as an ensemble; they give that old, reliable, triangle dynamic a real pop.

What's most surprising about Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN is how Mexican audiences, apparently as starved for such brutal honesty as the director, made this film a huge box-office smash. Will it catch on in the U.S.? Since all the previous commercial hurdles for foreign films have been debunked over the years (people will read subtitles if *gasp* a film engages them), it seems only the MPAA and timid exhibitors are standing in its way. Once again, it's not so often that moviegoers prefer processed fare like QUEEN OF THE DAMNED and RESIDENT EVIL, it's simply that they aren't given the alternative. Some worldwide successes don't connect with U.S. audiences due to a clash of sensibilities, but this doesn't apply to Cuaron's film. It's sexy and funny. Translation: it will sell if given a chance.

If Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN has a shortcoming, it's that some critics have expressed unease with how the film almost discards Luisa, making her feel quite like a plot mechanism, but rather than troubling, her exit from the boys' life attains a graceful poignancy, and sets up a bittersweet, one-year-later coda that, while of political significance due to Mexico's fairly recent shift of power, captures the oft-inescapable chasm that widens between high school chums once they head off for college. It's an earned moment of reflection and loss, broken abruptly by the credits, over which Frank Zappa's guitar wails plaintively, bringing an unexpectedly melancholy end to the first true cinematic triumph of 2002.

Faithfully Submitted,

Mr. Beaks

P.S. I understand this is high praise, and, since 2002 is fairly young, calling it the best film so far this year isn't saying much; ergo, I'll let you know I first saw Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN in 2001, and it would've placed #6 on my top-ten list behind IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, ALI, and AUDITION. Meanwhile, the films behind it were WIT, FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, MEMENTO and the still-unreleased TIME OUT.

If Beaks says it's good, you can take it to the bank. After all, he's got even better taste than me.

Wait... I didn't just say that...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • March 14, 2002, 8 a.m. CST


    by DonnieDorko

    This is weird. Too weird.

  • March 14, 2002, 8:10 a.m. CST

    good trailer

    by reni

    I took my mum and gran to see Ali on Mother's Day and they showed the trailer for this, people wanking, shagging, girls flashing their tits.... I was shocked, and that was just the trailer.... Definitely gonna see it!

  • March 14, 2002, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Remind me never to visit a Mexican swimming pool.

    by Wesley Snipes

    When I was 18, I was a horny, godless sonofabitch, but never once did it occur to me to fling jizm into a swimming pool.

  • March 14, 2002, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Listen up, you cretins

    by Dan McGinty

    Pour over MrBeaks review. Learn from it. The man is obviously the psychic offspring of Pauline Kael and James Agee. Savor his words; who knows how many more he will be able to devote to you ingrates before his film commitments get in the way.

  • March 14, 2002, 11:21 a.m. CST

    That's just great.

    by Abyss

    Little Princess was such a sweet, wholesome and touching little film. Now whenever I watch it, I'm going to be reminded that the same director also made a film about 2 blokes tossing themselves off.

  • March 14, 2002, 11:25 a.m. CST


    by carouselambra

    This certainly sounds like a realistic portrayal of teen sex. Jizzing into a pool? Getting it on with older ladies? OK.

  • March 14, 2002, 11:42 a.m. CST

    mexican Cinema

    by poil

    hooo yaa for mexican cinema. i love foreign films more than a big budget hollywood movie. when me and my gf went and saw amores perros in teh theatre, we were the only wihte people there. besides the subtitles being to hard to read sometimes, that movie is gritty and raw. I have been waiting for y tu mama tambien ever since i saw the trailer quite some time ago. Waiting and wanting t to come out more than star wars. An indie, but not so indie film that i hope everyone and there momma goes to see. both amores and this movie. Lately there hsa been so much praise for spanish directors/actors and such, and it is all quite great. this month the director and some of teh actors in this film have been in shift magazine, fader magazine, a whole section in, la times and so many more magazines/newspapers. very good, get the news out boys and girls. go see amores perros if you havn't. the dvd keeps selling out in my area.

  • March 14, 2002, 11:45 a.m. CST

    mexican road trip?

    by STRIDER355

  • March 14, 2002, 11:48 a.m. CST

    mexican road trip?

    by STRIDER355

    hmm....sounds interesting...There hasn't been a decent road trip movie since Thelma and Louise. American Perfekt sucked. lets just hope its not ALL about sex. I'd like to think that 18 year olds think about something else at least PART of the time. But I'm not Mexican, so. . .all those 18 year old Mexicans sweeping stuff up at Disneyland DO look pretty horny.

  • March 14, 2002, noon CST

    I tell you what, I'm ready for this!

    by JoeLove

    Ho boy. I think that the sensual aspect in film is never taken to the fullest. I've rarely seen real passion. Mulholland Drive certainly had it, and it looks from this review (GREAT REVIEW!) that Y Tu Mama Tambien is going to provide a romantic setup for a very hot night with my lady. Not that the movie won't be enjoyable, I just look forward to the heat after the credits roll!

  • March 14, 2002, 1:56 p.m. CST

    This film is fucking great

    by fuldamobil

    I had the honor of being at the L.A. premiere the other night, and I can't more highly recommend this film. See it! Easily the best film so far this year, and I bet it will stay on my top 10 list at year's end. Gael Garcia Bernal is a major talent and follows up his Amores Perros performance brilliantly. I was not a fan of Great Expectations, but Cuaron is obviously one talented director. This is a moving, hilarious love letter to Mexico and growing up. Some of the best sex scenes on film in a long time.

  • March 14, 2002, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Mr.Beaks writes well and all but he kinda lost me...

    by Bullettooth_Tony

    when he put ALI in there as number 4 on his list. In the immortal words of the Virgin Mary: Come again??? ALI is an overindulgent piece of bore that accomplishes nothing in the way of telling us about ALI... apart from Voigt as HC it was one of the biggest disappointments of the year. But Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN sounds interesting and different.

  • March 14, 2002, 2:22 p.m. CST

    more reviews of this film at Latino Review and Rotten Tomatoes

    by The guy

    Go to or if you want to read more Y Tu Mama Tambien reviews. All reviews so far are saying the same thing. The movie is excellent.

  • March 14, 2002, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Sorry, Mate, but you lost me at 'unleashing their potent you

    by Cash Bailey

    Is this one of those tiring, God-awful 'real fucking' art films that the French are aming lately?

  • March 14, 2002, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Race and foreign movies.

    by Gaspar

    Donkey show? mexican pool boys and sweeping around in Disneyland? I'm mexican and that sounds unabashedly stereotypical; that only proves how much egocentric americans can be. Yes, there's sex in the movie but sex is secondary to the intrincate socio-political connotations that might be unappealing to americans. It is Middle America the customary target of american movies who have lost interest in making adult movies. Prurient? maybe. Foreign movies are simply filling the market void created by Hollywood. Cheers.. O.G.

  • March 14, 2002, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Geez, no wonder you're not supposed to drink the water...(n/

    by tbrosz

  • March 15, 2002, 2:25 a.m. CST

    Screw you, "And Your Mother As Well"!

    by reb55_0

    Aww, I don't mean that.....;) Sounds like fun...maybe an off-beat production house can pick it up for U.S. release....Artisan, anyone?

  • March 15, 2002, 2:33 a.m. CST

    Btw, that's "In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary"...

    by reb55_0

    ..don't want to be a dick, just love the dialogue in Snatch. Natch! ;)

  • March 16, 2002, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Y Tu Mama is a great movie

    by *Sister Satan*

    I am Glad to see the incredible response in talk back concerning this film, and truely recommend it i have it on vhs and dvd--mexican release no subs-- and have studied spanish for about 5 years now. this movie truely offers alot, for those of you concerned with there being more to this film than sex, do not fear there is incredible depth in the persons portrayed in this film. and a great many people consider it better or just as good as amores perros, including me and Lobo. it is just a shame that so many people have bias on indie and foriegn films... if you wanna check out another latin film that is outstanding, keep an eye out for "Life is to Whistle" its a Cubian film that can be found on amazon on dvd it is on the top of my favorites list... well, sister satan out*****

  • March 16, 2002, 5:08 p.m. CST

    So how and can I get this film on DVD?? Is it available in Mexi

    by The_Lion