Plot-wise, this is the standard, screw-ball comedy of “irresponsible lothario suddenly left to raise child”. Yet it manages to rise above the template to be a quirkily satisfying piece of cinema.
Eugenio Derbez stars as Valentin, the eponymous lothario, and does an excellent job of making him a believable and sympathetic character. He also directed and co-wrote, along with Guillermo Rios and Leticia Lopez Margalli.
The stand-out performance is from Loreta Peralta as his seven-year-old daughter, Maggie. She manages to steal the film, without seeming precocious or too cute. The chemistry between her and Derbez is a joy to watch, and is at the heart of this movie.
Although, basically, a sentimental comedy, the writers have given this film rich, thematic layers: it explores concepts of fantasy, family, love and parenting. Special mention must go to Jorge de Jesus Perez Alba for the wonderful animation sections, which give depth to Valentin’s fantasy stories to Maggie.
This is faultless film-making, managing to produce an incredibly popular work, which still satisfies. Although two hours long, it moves along at a rollicking pace and constantly surprises. There are lots of laughs along the way, but be warned: you will need tissues…
…lots of them.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Rating out of 10: 7