Blanca loves her BMX bike. Mom might arrange a ride share to get her to school, but to Blanca, that’s just to transport her backpack.
She’ll race Señor Uber to school, taking shortcuts, doing jumps and dodging traffic as she does.
And heaven forbid she spies bullying on the school bus she races in that home stretch. Skinny-mini or not, tweenage Blanca (Natalia Coronado) is down to throw-down.
If Mom, a widowed film producer (Silvia Navarro) only knew. She despises and fears bicycles. But she’s a bit frazzled — problem solving, coping with divas on the set, mainly her director (Luis Ernesto Franco).
Mom can never know, but Blanca wants to enter the Big BMX race at the end of the month. Pal Laura (Victoria Viera) figures she’s a cinch to win. Even the boys want tips from her.
“You’re not cut out for it,” she sniffs. But how can she sign up for this dangerous race without parental consent? Wait, Mom’s a producer. Let’s hold a “casting call,” find a guy willing to pose as her dad. It turns out, that drive-share grey fox (Juan Pablo Medina) used to be a movie star. If only his agent (Roberto Quijano) can convince him to “audition.”
From that summary, you’ve guessed exactly where this thing is going. But “Dad Wanted,” aka “Se busca papá” lurches from bizarre twists to rank sentiment so often that maybe you don’t.
“The Big Race” is the finale, sure. But street mime and magic? Driver/actor Beto’s “secret grief?” And that “What’s a non-relative 40something hanging around with a 12-year-old?” “ick” factor’s got to be addressed.
Coronado is an adorably fresh-faced starlet who sulks well, big and small screen veteran Medina suggests the air of a man who “used to be somebody,” but who doesn’t want to “act any more.”
Among the cast-to-be-funnier-and-more-frenetic co-stars, Viera stands out — worldly enough to conjure up a voice synthesizer so she and Blanca can fool auditioners into thinking they’re adults casting a movie, quick to dissolve into tears if an adult raises her or his voice to her.
That audition sequence is far-fetched, but adorable and inventive (hiding the girls via bright lights and a screen, masking their voices).
Little else in “Dad Wanted” stands out. The “wacky” agent isn’t, stern ball-buster Mom may be a Mexican Michelle Monaghan, but has too few fuming moments to play. The sentimental stuff that takes over the third act beggars belief.
It’s harmless enough. Still, the only reason to watch it is if you and/or the kids need to brush up on your Spanish.
MPAA Rating: TV-14
Cast: Natalia Coronado, Juan Pablo Medina, Silvia Navarro, Victoria Viera, Roberto Quijano, Luis Ernesto Franco
Credits: Directed by Javier Colinas, script by Victor Avelar, Paulette Hernandez, Fernando Barreda Luna and Javier Colinas. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:42