Y Tu Mama Tambien (18)
WITH an opening reminiscent of the thunderous, freight train delivery of the sexual shenanigans of Betty Blue and, five minutes later, an energetic reprise of athletic teenage sexual gymnastics, Y Tu Mama Tambien (aka And Your Mother Too) nails its colours to the mast from the outset.
Vibrant, daring, in-your-face and outrageously non-conformist, this latest Mexican import follows hard on the heels of Amores Perros (aka Love’s a Bitch) and proves that cineastes should look not to Europe for their thrills, but to Mexico.
Mexican cinema and its output has changed dramatically since the days of Sam Peckinpah and the likes of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Nowadays directors like Alejando Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Perros) and Alfonso Cuaron, the writer/director behind Y Tu Mama Tambien, are more likely to dwell on the positive rather than accentuating the negative.
Thus this sparky, sexy and, occasionally, seedy exploration of teen angst and rampant libidos concentrates on two cocksure, sex-obsessed teenagers, Tenoch and Julio, who can’t believe their luck when Tenoch’s cousin’s hot young wife, Luisa (Maribel Verdu), agrees to join them on a trip to a seafront paradise.
The journey is filled with laughter, tall stories, sexual adventure, jealousy and recrimination as Tenoch and Julio live out every red-blooded boy’s fantasy of finding a horny older woman to show them the road to adulthood, while Luisa, torn by a secret heartbreak, gives her life a new meaning by embracing the sexual freedom she never had as a faithful wife.
Y Tu Mama Tambien offers the reverse of the standard youth flick. In this the heroes are two wasters who spend every waking hour watching videos, getting drunk, masturbating, bonking, bragging about bonking or eyeing up each other’s mothers.
There is much juvenile talk of sex, fellatio, girlfriends, breasts and technique – a Mexican version of Summer of ’42 with a touch of Les Valseuses for good measure.
Yet while the eye-popping sex scenes leave little to the imagination and the boys’ constant talk of conquests becomes wearing there is much to enjoy, principally via the effortless performances of the three leads.
Verdu impresses as the thirtysomething married woman whose broken heart is temporarily healed through the enthusiastic caresses of two young men, while Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, the latter from Amores Perros, absolutely convince as two lucky 17-year-olds on the brink of adulthood. Their lives are irrevocably altered by their road trip experiences, and both deliver performances of great density and style.
Yet perhaps the real star here is Cuaron. Already a graduate of the Hollywood school of filmmaking with his 1998 version of Great Expectations, he has here made a triumphant return to his homeland and emerged with a compassionate, edgy, unforgettable tale of love, lust and laughter that stays in the memory long after the final images have faded.