The movie that took Mexico by storm and impressed critics in the United States has arrived at video stores, so I didn't wait a moment to snatch up Y Tu Mama Tambien to see what all of the commotion was about. My reactions are mixed but fairly pleasant, at least from a college-age student's point of view.
Y Tu Mama Tambien is about two teenagers who's girlfriends have left them for the summer to travel around Europe. With the girls gone, the guys seek other relationships, but do not have much luck; that is until they meet a slightly older woman who is looking for an escape. They set out on a road trip that turns into a journey of sexuality, as well as insight to the real poverty of the nation. What results is revelations about each other that will test their friendship.
Is Y Tu Mama Tambien a teen movie? Is it an art house film? Its genre is hard to determine. On the one hand, Y Tu Mama Tambien has a real cultural flare about it, with a gritty look at the poverty of Mexico and a lifestyle quite different from our own in the United States. Of course, couldn't someone in the boondocks of Mexico say the same thing about teen movies from the United States? No, to be fair, Y Tu Mama Tambien is not a teen movie in the strictest sense of the word. It's not a comedy, and it has enough adult drama to be considered as something much greater than a film made for teenagers. Still, whether director Alfonso Cuaron was just trying to give insight into the Mexican teenage spirit, I really can't believe that Mexican teenagers are quite like the boys in Y Tu Mama Tambien.
The only real problem I had with the film was the believability of the main characters. The two young guys are terrific in their roles, and their characters are likeable and funny, but some of the things they do just doesn't make sense. Most American teenagers would not whack off with each other, and I doubt most Mexicans would either. Nor would they do many of the other things in this movie as well. Women might be turned off by the fact that every character with a speaking role essentially gets laid with every other character.
From a 20-year old guy's standpoint, the sex and nudity is a definite plus. Y Tu Mama Tambien has its fair share of sex, and some nudity. The sexual tension in the film is almost nerve-racking.
From a critic's point of view, Y Tu Mama Tambien is well done all around, combining the positives from many different genres into one. The characters are carefree and thus get into many comical situations, but there is definitely a more serious side that shows up in the latter half of the film. There is an underlying tension and theme that slowly works its way to the surface over the course of the movie, which is well done... very well done.
I liked Y Tu Mama Tambien, but it's not for everyone. It is essentially an erotic drama, a foreign film most definitely but one that will still appeal to younger audiences more than any other.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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