!Que Viva Mexico! is a satirical drama streaming on Netflix currently. It features Damian Alcazar, Alfonso Herrera, and Joaquin Cosio among others. To give you a short summary of this film, it revolves around Pancho or Mr. Reyes, who is a rags-to-riches businessman flourishing in Mexico City, Mexico. He has a nice family with a Dolce-buying wife, two children, and a job at the factory as the downsizing manager (because all he is shown to do is downsizing, so I thought it would be appropriate to call him that).
When his grandfather passes away, he has to go to his hometown to attend the funeral so that everyone can know the will he left behind. What happens when the inheritance is announced and how Pancho deals with it is what's at the core of this film. It has a total runtime of 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Firstly, I'd say that this is definitely a peculiar film, to say the least. The premise and the initial setup of the film are definitely interesting. Pancho is shown avoiding his father's calls throughout his routine, telling his housemaid to say he's not home, while at night having nightmares about his father. The first scene in the film provides context about Pancho. He has gone far away from his humble roots and makes sure that he isn't reminded of it ever.
When the calls become too frequent, Pancho is forced to pick up finally. He is then informed of his grandfather's passing and his final wish, which is for Pancho to be present at his funeral. From then on the director treats us to a highly exaggerated and stereotypical Mexico through Pancho. Where we get to meet his astonishingly annoying joint family. His family includes so many people that it is impossible to recount. Pancho's grandmother is specifically a stand out to be honest, mostly because old people cursing and being crass is generally funny. However, in this film, literally, every character is exactly like that. None of them are likable as they range from pedophiles to dirty politicians. Once you see it, you'd understand what I meant by saying it is really grotesque in its satire and humor.
The main character Pancho reminded me of Antony Starr from The Boys at times, the way he has so much expression on his face but is dead behind the eyes. His wife is an entitled blonde archetype who is disgusted by his village and people. Other than the grandmother, the father, and the mother are also quite gross and indulge in the same grotesque characters.
The whole family essentially just wants to rob Pancho of whatever they can manage along with whatever he has been given in inheritance. This along with Pancho's father trying to get him to open the mines in which his grandfather used to work is also another plot thread in the film.
To be honest, I just didn't really enjoy the satire of the film. It feels over the top in the wrong ways, there are no real characters that make the satire feel stand out even, everyone is just bonkers. To feel any kind of cringe in satirical things, or even have a laugh because of how funny it is, there should be a normalizing or neutralizing agent. This film lacks that, Pancho isn't that and neither is his nuclear family. His joint family's antics are certainly funny at times, I'll give it that but overall the experience wasn't my favorite.
Other than that, the direction feels bizarre at times, with randomly distorted zoom-ins. The acting ranges from mediocre to good but how differentiating can it be when you have your entire cast just hurling curses and acting under offensive stereotypes? To be very frank, the first sequence when Pancho goes home would make you see certain cultural similarities that Indians have with Mexicans. They are mostly negative stereotypes that tend to be offensive but have some truth to them, even if it's little.
I feel that if you're someone who is into gross-out humor films, this film might be up your alley but it certainly was not my cup of tea. The plot is not too bad, it keeps you interested till the end but the characters are what keep you from leaving for something more interesting. (Especially considering that this is a 3-hour long film).
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