It doesn’t take more than five minutes of the Mexican comedy “Solteras” (Ready to Mingle)” to make one wonder “Which millenium is this set in?”
It’s about “desperate” single women, mostly in the 30-40 age range, who lose faith in Tinder and Match.com, in long-term beaus who never “put a ring on it,” and attend a “How to Find and Close the Deal with a Husband” workshop.
However that plays South of the Rio Grande, north of the border, it’s a seriously outdated social expectation and a romantic comedy trope that was worn out and abandoned at about the time Monica finally got her ring on “Friends.”
To get anything out of “Mingle,” you have to ignore the current “women don’t need men” thinking, resign yourself to some pretty stale rom-com tropes and repeat, in Spanish (with English subtitles) “pelicula chica.” It’s an old fashioned chick picture, so let’s roll with it and see where it takes us.
Ana (Cassandra Ciangherotti) is dumped in the middle of a wedding, chosing the worst possible moment to wonder why “I’m the last single (soltera) of all my friends” to her beau of ten years, Gabriel (played by Pablo Cruz).
Months of drinking and crying later, she hears the news that her “ugly” cousin has just gotten engaged, and uses threats to figure out Tamara’s (Lucía Uribe Bracho) secret.
“I took a workshop!”
Ana decides to check it out, is encouraged by the “Hola, guapa!” (Hello, gorgeous!) greeting from the receptionist, but a bit put off by the knowitall “Love Coach,” Lucila (Gabriela de la Garza). And she can’t see herself as “desperate” as the four women she sees there — a frumpy drunken doormat, a divorcee racing against time, a wallflower and sexy but perhaps delusional about her beauty bombshell who can’t get all the way to the altar.
It’s only when Ana takes one last, hopeless run at Gabriel that she realizes she’s as desperate as the rest. She’s all-in on lessons that begin with “Maybe YOU’RE the ones who don’t take yourselves seriously” and progress to a makeover (“You are looking for a husband, not a job…Men only notice looks…It’s in their DNA!”), to leaving “your comfort zone…No more pilates. Find a class with more men in it.”
Dating small-talk rehearsals, learning what to conceal and what to flat-out lie about.
All very retro. Throw in the “bad dates” montage, a staple of such movies since forever, not the least bit funny in this film. Add a LOT of culture clashing lines about waiting for a man to cover one’s bills and “let you live it up,” lives put on hold until this threshold is crossed (one woman has been paying for her wedding dress, in installments, for years) and you’ve got a film that may resonate with someone demographically or culturally more “old fashioned.”
To everybody NOT around when “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” made its theatrical run, this is so stale and dated it is grating.
Cinagherotti has her Kristen Wiig’ish charms, but the “types” that surround her — including the greying architect (Juan Pablo Medina) who starts to look like “the one” if Ana can only set the hook — are dull, more a collection of cliches than actual characters.
Too slow, too few funny lines to go with a couple of promising comic situations, “Ready to Mingle” turns out to have been the wrong title to translate this tie-the-knot-of-die comedy to. They left out the “Not.”
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, near nudity, adult situations, alcohol abuse
Credits: Directed by Luis Javier Henaine, script by Luis Javier Henaine and Alejandra Olvera Avila. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:37