Only Human

"Good"

Only Human Review


When the original Father of the Bride came out in 1950, it became clear that pre-wedding ceremonies were fertile land for moviemaking. It has spawned great movies (Late Marriage), great comedies (Meet the Parents),and a heap of charming but forgettable variants (chief example: My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Dominic Harari and Teresa De Pelegri's Only Human wants to be a great comedy but has moments of schizophrenia where it also wants to be serious. Head scratching is imminent.Rafi (Guillermo Toledo) has small lakes underneath his armpits from perspiration. His fiancée Leni (Marian Aguilera) suggests a quickie in the elevator before they reach her parents' apartment. There is much surprise when Leni's mother, Gloria (the fantastic Norma Aleandro), opens her arms without trouble to Rafi. The entire family, including an orthodox brother, a nymphomaniac sister, and a blind, war-obsessed grandfather, is happy to meet the shambling professor. That is, until they find out he is Palestinian. Gloria throws a fit, Leni threatens to leave, and Rafi gets so nervous that he accidentally throws a huge block of frozen soup out the window and almost kills a person.The wackiness only gets more demented as the injured man is dragged into the bus of a prostitute and the family invades Leni's father's office in an attempt to prove he is philandering. One could easily cast the film off as another in a long line of Meet the Parents-like escapades, but the comedy that is achieved here rings a much darker tone. Leni often questions the idea of morality in the face of staying with Rafi, who she loves more than her stature in god's eyes. Gloria often spills to both her girls that her sex life is all but dead and considers lesbianism.Trouble arises in a blunt, somewhat shameful argument that takes place between Leni and Rafi in the family bathroom. Where the political strife between the cultures had been a trembling bass line behind the humorous clamor, this argument suddenly forces all the implied attention into the opening. She spits angry sentiment about Palestine while he pushes back with generalizations about both the Jewish people and their faith. The actors strain to make this argument relative and real, but the scene is so obvious and turns all the film's energy into dead air. That clink you hear in the background is a wrench hitting the gears.For what is familiar territory by now, however, Only Human packs in the laughs and has an interesting enough array of characters. Its attempt at mixing the tommy-gun laughs of the Meet the Parents films and the venomous culture and class lines of Late Marriage isn't without its bravery and ingenuity, but it comes off clumsily and often puts the viewer in an awkward state of falling out of interest with the characters. The film succeeds in its bewildering dark sentiments but pushes them farther than they need to go.By the way, did you hear the one about the Palestinian and the Fundamentalist Christian who were stuck on an island together?Aka Seres queridos.


Only Human

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th July 2004

Box Office USA: $69.3k

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Experimental Film Society

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 15

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Dominic Harari, Teresa De Pelegri

Producer: Mariela Besuievsky, , , Adrian Sturges

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