“Well,” you say to yourself, “one reason we travel ‘Around the World with Netflix’ is to sample other cultures, see the world from a different culture’s point of view.”
So you write off piffle like “All Hail (Granizo)” as an aberration. Because surely Argentina doesn’t obsess over weather forecasts like this. Surely Argentina has its own Weather Channel. And surely Argentines wouldn’t think a 1970s style variety show built around a Big Weather Forecast on a set that could have come from the 1970s Hollywood TV satire “Network” is “destination television.”
A national cinema that’s produced a string of top drawer murder mysteries and thrillers in recent years is entitled to stumble in trying to produce a dramedy about the weather, a “hero” weather man, an enraged stalker fan and family. Director Marcos Carnevale (“No soy tu mami”) and two screenwriters — one of whom won an Oscar for co-writing Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “Birdman” — don’t manage anything new, fresh or the least big interesting with those assorted elements in their two hour movie.
When we meet him, Miguel Flores (Guillermo Francella) is living the life in Buenos Aires — 50something, housed in a swank apartment, a car service that picks him up each day, a steady date with a fetching “friend with benefits” after work. He’s stopped on the street for selfies, plastered all over the sides of buses. He is “Miguel the Infallible,” a TV weather forecaster with a self-described “twenty years without a mistake” forecasting record.
He’s so popular that his station has bought his pitch for a nightly show about the weather, complete with a salsa band, so he can dance his way onstage each night. Sure, they saddle him with “an assistant,” the leggy, giggly blonde Mery (Laura Fernández), who is young and a social media darling. But no worries, right? Just a hook for a younger audience.
All that comes to pieces with Miguel’s first fallible forecast. It’s a hailstorm that wrecks cars not in garages, smashes windows not covered and kills dogs left outside, and Miguel, who “guaranteed” mild conditions (in dubbed English, or in Spanish with subtitles) slept through it. The entire city is enraged.
In an instant, he is “sent on a break,” Mery takes over the show and Miguel is a hounded, hunted man in the media. Now would be a good time to dash off to Córdoba, visit his pediatrician daughter Carla (Romina Fernandes) whose messages he’s been dodging forever.
There are hints of “Network,” “The Weather Man” and even a little “LA Story” magical realism in the building blocks of this movie. But everything planted in this story is allowed to wither on the vine.
Carla’s unusual lifestyle — she might be a swinger — is hinted at and abandoned. The father-daughter-weather issues date back to the film’s opening image, the mystery of how he was widowed and Carla grew up without a mom. Tossed out there and left hanging. Even the furious cabbie who vows revenge is a non-starter.
The story’s shallow lack of ambition can be explained in one last idea brought into play, an old coot of the mountains who seems to know exactly when it will rain or shower “hailstones as big as soccer balls.” So Miguel’s “redemption” has nothing to do with being a better person, less self-absorbed, a better father, someone who finally deals with his wife’s death.
Director Carnevale and screenwriters Fernando Balmayor and Nicolás Giacobone (“Birdman”) completely and utterly lose the thread in the “message” and “moral of the story” department. And most annoying of all, their puzzlingly, infuriatingly vapid movie takes two hours doing it.
Rating: TV-MA, profanity
Cast: Guillermo Francella, Romina Fernandes and Laura Fernández
Credits: Directed by Marcos Carnevale, scripted by Fernando Balmayor and Nicolás Giacobone. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:58