Saturday, May 17, 2008

Boystown (Chuecatown)

Chueca is the trendy gay neighbourhood of Madrid. Several flats have become available after the suspicious deaths of their elderly female residents — followed, of course, by being remodeled to within an inch of their lives. Part of Boystown is the unraveling of the murder mystery, but there is also some more personal drama involving the neighbour of one of the victims, his husband, his mother-in-law, his boss, and a mother-son police detective team. I should preface my comments by noting that the film was in most respects very well made, and most of the audience seemed to quite enjoy it.

The mother-in-law was so relentlessly despicable, so irredeemably evil, so unremittingly obnoxious as to negate all humor value for her character and indeed for the second half of the film. I would almost describe her character as "over the top," but it would be more accurate to say "under the bottom," because she was utterly beneath contempt. I literally didn't chuckle once in the second half of what was meant to be a comedy. Despite the audience reaction, I cannot recommend this film to anyone, unless you despise all mothers.

Boystown (Chuecatown), dir. Juan Flahn, Spain 2007, 100 min. video

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  1. OMG. This movie was funny as hell! and I don't think i despise mothers at all. The mother-in-law was quite loathsome indeed, but i found her venomous comments to be hilariously funny. She was, in fact, a HUGE highlight of the movie... especially if you understand Spanish, i will add. Dialogue this sharp and rapid-fire just doesn't happen in american movies, sad to say.
    Chuecatown has been one of my favorites this Outfest.

  2. If you go by the sub-titles alone the mother really is beneath contempt but the actual words being said are much, much funnier.

    It may be a cliché that Spanish mothers are over-bearing (the cop's mother too, remember) but there's a self-realisation by Rey's mother about why she hates Leo so much.

    I thought it was an excellent film, typically Spanish in many ways and very un-Hollywood in its treatment of death.

    The fact that Carlos Fuentes' character is one of the sexiest men that I've ever seen on screen doesn't harm either.

    Overall, I'd say an eight out of ten. And I've now seen it five times in less than three months.