The striking scenery of Mauritius is the chief selling point of “Honeymoon With My Mother,” a downbeat romantic comedy that tends toward dull.
It’s as if the film’s frothy opening — a wedding interrupted by a romantic who hurtles into the ceremony in his vintage Ford Capri, sweeping away the bride as Pat Benatar’s “We Belong Together” blasts out of his radio and the soundtrack — leaves not just the groom at the altar, but the viewer as well.
The movies and TV show this sort of thing all the time, but can you imagine the hurt, shock and shame of that? “Honeymoon” invites us to, and it parks the entire overlong rom-com under a cloud.
Jose Luis (Quim Gutiérrez) is left holding the bag — an expensive ceremony that empties out, leaving just him and a couple of family members forced to cope with all this catered food and a band that won’t stop playing and a priest who reminds him (in Spanish with English subtitles) “I still have to charge you.”
Yes, the bride ran off with the rehearsal dinner DJ. And then there’s this honeymoon she insisted on, resisting Jose Luis’s pleas for a more reasonable “fjords” cruise. It’s “the best resort in Mauritius,” and as much as his mother Mari Carmen (Carmen Machi) argues for a refund, the travel agent is no more understanding that the priest.
Nothing for it but for him to go, and for her to travel as his “wife” on a jetliner filled with other honeymooners, most of whom look like the woman who just dumped him.
As the script abandons the ex and the DJ as plot points, you might wonder how the hell they got 110 minutes of movie out of Jose Luis moping, bickering with mom and slowly coming back to life — with a cute “adventure tour” guide (Justina Bustos) as motivation? I’ve already watched “Honeymoon with My Mom” — titled “Amor de madre” in Spain — and I’m still wondering.
The snarky, jump-to-conclusions desk clerk (Yolanda Ramos) tries to wring a few laughs out of the odd couple, who don’t do a good job of pretending to be what they’re not. Dominique Guillo plays a lounge lizard who takes a shine to Mom, who’s in a marriage to a self-absorbed dullard (Juanjo Cucalón), aka Jose Luis’s dad.
Drinking game scenes, getting “lost” and extorted at the wrong rum bar, an arrest and a stumbling flirtation with the out-of-his-league blonde tour guide, with virtually no scene feeling like the “lift” this thing needed, don’t end up providing any relief from the tedium of it all.
But, you know, the scenery’s nice.
Rating: TV-14, lots of drinking, pot smoking, some profanity
Cast: Carmen Machi, Quim Gutiérrez, Justina Bustos, Dominique Guillo, Juanjo Cucalón and Yolanda Ramos.
Credits: Directed by Paco Caballero, scripted by Cristobal Garrido, Adolfo Valor. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:50