The eye-roll, that universal symbol for “You gotta be kidding me,” gets a fearsome workout in “Si, Mi Amor,” a candy-colored rom-com bauble from Peru.
It’s as if the cast recognizes that many of the comic tropes and gender stereotypes they’re acting out are dated and retrograde — and not just to norteamericanos.
It’s about a guy who keeps a secret from his paranoid and insecure girlfriend, only to have her leap to the worst possible conclusion and melt down, telling off him and all their friends and her relatives at a Christmas party.
There’s a teen present, so Bea (Yiddá Eslava) becomes a Youtube sensation as “The Christmas Hulk” (“La Navidad Hulk,” as this is in Spanish with English subtitles).
The rest of the comedy is each trying to move on without the other, Bea living with her best friend and running into (literally, via fender-bender) her next beau, the doctor Horacio (Sebastian Monteghirfo), who wheezes and brays as he laughs, and Guillermo, aka “Guille” ( (Julián Zucchi) getting drunk, singing with the famous singing duo (don’t recognize them) and getting picked up with the girlishly manipulative Britany (Ximena Palamino).
This is what happens when a Peruvian takes up with an Argentinian, or so this slow-footed Pedro Flores Maldonado “romp” would have us believe. Because that’s one thing that pays comic dividends in the third act.
That’s when Bea has to deal with Argentinians, or rather Peruvian ideas of what Argentinians are like. Obsessed with Maradona, the soccer legend? Si. Arrogant, patronizing and pretentious, with a tendency to correct that Spanish of their Latin American lessers? Oh, si, si.
Guille’s accent is a big joke to strangers he meets in his little organic food/medicine shop. The word muttered in his direction is “maricón,” which may play for laughs south of the border, but is very out-of-date in most of the rest of the world.
“Si, mi Amor” has the obligatory gay BFF (Andrés Salas), a mincing, lisping bitchy-sissy editor-boss at Bea’s newspaper (she writes horoscopes) and a lead couple that set off no sparks. We’re pretty much invited to assume Guille is gay, right from the opening “We should be more than friends” scene.
“Your voice is high! You’re LYING Guille!”
Maldonado gives us a quick picture of modern day Lima, the street music and club scene. Actors get to trot out their versions of playing a drunk, throwing a tantrum, dancing, singing karaoke (or singing along with a band).
Cute gags? A breaking into a cell-phone bit is cute, the drunk scenes aren’t bad. The only really funny moments come very late, those lessons in “How to be more Argentinian.”
Maldonado leaves promising premises at the door and confines himself to easier laughs, for the most part.
The women are mostly shrill, judgmental harridans or gold-diggers, stress binge-eaters and club hotties, and wishing this “couple” back together seems like a stretch.
But the good-humored, better looking neighbor (Mayra Couto) who keeps running into Guille at the worst moments — moving his ex’s underwear out, locked out, nearly nude in the middle of a bleach-job — is out of the question, I guess.
The performers are all polished and make do the best they can with a script that has maybe 50 minutes worth of rom-com lost in a 100 minute movie.
However this played in Peru and the rest of South America, I could have used a LOT more “Let’s make fun of Argentinians.” If you’re leaning on stereotypes, the gay ones are played out, but the Pretentious People of the Pampas are still fair game.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, profanity
Cast: Yiddá Eslava, Julián Zucchi, Andrés Salas, Mayra Couto, Ximena Palamino, Sebastian Monteghirfo.
Credits: Written and directed by Pedro Flores Maldonado. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:47