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Time Out New York Project: Issue #790, November 18-24, 2010
Dirs. Antonio Naharro and Álvaro Pastor. 2009. N/R. 103mins. In Spanish, with subtitles. Lola Dueñas, Pablo Pineda, Isabel García Lorca.
You’d rather not criticize this occasionally sweet, often cloying Spanish drama about the tentative romance between a Down syndrome–stricken social worker, Daniel (Pineda), and his emotionally damaged but otherwise ordinary colleague, Laura (Dueñas). Everyone’s heart is in the right place; to poke fun at the movie feels almost cruel. But the good intentions of cast and crew don’t add up to much that’s authentic. Daniel meets Laura on the first day at his new job. In her frazzled state, she thinks he’s there for aid, not to work. Clearly there’s a lot of myth-dispelling to do; indeed, the film often seems like a public-service announcement wrapped around a sketchy narrative skeleton.
Following the template of many a Sundance-sanctioned indie (it unsurprisingly competed for the 2010 Grand Jury Prize), Me Too feigns progressive empathy while carefully eliding anything that might challenge or upset audiences at large. A subplot in which two Down-afflicted dancers have their romance threatened by an overly distressed parent is wrapped up with sitcom-level ease. And when Daniel and Laura finally consummate their relationship, the filmmakers cut away before any real intimacy begins. All we get is a post-coital scene of the two having a “can-you-believe-we-just-did-that?!” laugh. It would be offensive if the whole endeavor were not so utterly forgettable.—Keith Uhlich
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