Perdiendo el norte (2015)

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½

I remember reviewing a movie similar to this a little over a year ago. That movie was called Get A Job (review of which I will now post onto Letterboxd). The similarities are really only skin-deep in that the movie looks at the difficulty of a group of people, mostly millenials, trying to find a decent job in a tough economic climate. That's where the similarities end since, in this movie, Braulio and Hugo's response to their lack of job success in Spain is to immigrate to Germany after they see this TV interview with a fellow Spaniard going on about how great life has been for him In Germany. So, yea, the premise is a little absurd. Because these college educated men, one of whom is a scientist and the other has two master's degrees or something, decide to move to a country they know nothing about based off a TV interview. They don't bother to actually do their own research to verify for their own if there's any truth to what this guy is saying and if they're chances are, legitimately, better in Germany as opposed to toughing it out in Spain. Yes, of course, this is not meant to be a clever satire, so the plot is kept as simplistic as possible, but doing your own research doesn't seem like that preposterous of an idea. It is what it is. So Braulio and Hugo move to Germany, hopeful that things there will go just the way they want it. And, of course, they don't. Hugo, being a bit accustomed to the finer things in life, feels that he's above all of this and decides to go back to Spain when he finds out that his father, who paid for his college degrees, has been laid off from his job and he has been forced to take a mortgage on their house. So Hugo, swallowing his pride, decides to stay and take on a low-paying job at this Turkish restaurant with Braulio. Here's the thing about comparing this movie to Get A Job. You'd think that this movie, with it focusing on the difficulties of people immigrating to another country to find work, would have focused more on that. On exploring what it is that forces someone to leave their home in order to, hopefully, find prosperity elsewhere. But, really, it just doesn't focus on that at all. Get A Job, a considerably worse movie than this, does more with its concept. Everything in that film's narrative seems centered around people just trying to find a job in a difficult economy. This movie, eh, moves away from that and has a broader sensibility as it relates to its comedy. Hugo falls in love with Carla, even though he has a fiancee back in Spain. And, of course, Carla, in every relationship she finds herself, has always been the other woman. The man in question has a wife or a girlfriend. So, of course, that comes to a head once Hugo's fiance (and his parents) visit him in Berlin. Carla's annoying brother is also very protective of her. Let me tell you, Rafa (Carla's brother) is really fucking annoying. And not in the good way, where he's still somewhat entertaining. He's annoying and not funny. He's always laughing for literally no reason. I suppose the idea is that he's always high, but it ends up being the character's most annoying trait. Hell, it's really his only trait. I get why they needed Rafa's character, but at least make him less of an annoyance. It's definitely a little sitcom-y, but that's what you can expect from this flick. Braulio finds himself having sex with his boss' wife in order to impregnate her, given that her husband shoots blanks. He does this to be able to afford some German lessons in order to keep his scholarship. Andres, Hugo's cranky next door neighbor, is estranged from his daughter and, later, finds out that he has Alzheimer's disease. So there's a variety of subplots here and very few of them seem to focus in on the theme of immigration and the difficulties of adjusting to a different country with a completely different culture. There's certainly a few scenes where they mention it, but it's really pushed to the background. And, honestly, it's not even that this movie is bad. It's just that it probably focuses on the wrong ideas to push its narrative forward. Eventually, outside of Rafa, the characters do grow on you and, really, the actors are all really likable. It's just that the movie deciding to be so broad with its humor definitely limited its potential. Of course, the moral of the story is to live the live you want and not the one you can, or the one that'll bring you the most financial stability, but little else. But, again, I just wish the movie would have used that more as part of its story and its characters' progression than what they did use. It is what it is and, as I always feel the need to point out, I'm not letting this affect the final score. This movie was always gonna get 2.5 stars regardless of me pointing that out, but it's also interesting to imagine how this might have been a different movie. Like I said, the casting is more than solid, even though no one really sticks out in your mind. Carmen Machi and Javier Camara are criminally underused, but they're great in the scenes they're in. Don't know what else I can say about this movie. It was decent enough, but nothing that you really need to go out of your way to see. If you're stuck between this and Get A Job, though, then obviously go with this one. If you're not stuck between these two movies, there's still better stuff out there worthier of your time. Like Tale of Tales, as an example.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

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