Y Tu Mamá También

The Devil Says

Skip It

(But it's a close call)

Y Tu Mamá También is one of the recent spat of indie films that show a few people in what is claimed to be a real situation (but is actually as artificial as they come), chatting about their lives. For this, these movies are labeled "deep." They rarely are, and in this case, if you learn something, you didn't know very much going in.

The story follows two teens, Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael García Bernal), who enjoy masturbating (together?  Huh.  Well, more power to them), sex with their girlfriends, smoking pot, and trying to be cool. Yes, they are the stereotypes you've seen a few dozen times before (assuming you watch teen sex comedies). They meet Luisa (Maribel Verdú), a hot older women, at a wedding and invite her to go with them to a mythical beach. When she receives a double dose of bad news (that her husband is cheating on her again and that her medical test have come back indicating a problem), she decides to take the boys up on their offer and the three head off down the byways of Mexico, discussing sex and occasionally betrayal. Of course they argue a lot, and come to great realizations about life—ignore that last statement. They don't really come to realize much of anything. As in all coming-of-age stories, the teens are supposed to have grown in some way by the end, but we never see a sign one way or the other.

On the plus side, this is a movie made outside of the U.S. and the censoring effects of the MPAA, so everyone gets naked, and the the teens get to have sex with Luisa  as well as with their girlfriends, without awkward close-ups designed to hide genitals.  Countering that is that this is a pompous, Indie (with a capital "I") movie that's desperately trying to take itself seriously, so the nudity is brief, the sex is briefer, and all of it is filmed to avoid excitement.

It received much acclaim on the film festival circuit and mortal critics have been tripping over themselves to say how significant it is; so what issues does it shine a light upon, and what does it say about life? Well, Tenoch and Julio are from different social classes, and they often see poor people. So, it acknowledges that there are at least two economic groups. Huh. And what insight does it pass on about the financial inequality in society? None. It just points out occasionally that there are poor people and there are rich people and they have may have different experiences. Is there someone out there who doesn't know that? If so, Y Tu Mamá También will be a revelation for him. For everyone else, not so much.

There's more. The movie tells us that teenage boys are really interested in sex, and can be immature in their relationships. To do this, it makes the boys into comic characters who talk as if they were in Porkys and cum the moment they enter a woman. (I thought all those critics said this was a realistic drama that was unlike the American Pie movies. Guess not.) Anyway, isn't premature ejaculation deep? Is there anyone, anywhere, who is unaware that teen boys want sex? Just checking.

The final bit of wisdom is that there is an unspoken homoerotic connection between Tenoch and Julio. If this is meant just to say something about them, then so what? If it is supposed to be a statement about males in general, it's way to broad. I know Lust. It's one of my sins. There are males who only Lust for males, others who only Lust for females, and some who Lust for both to varies degrees.  It's all wonderful, but it isn't quite so simple. Oh, and if you're homosexual, don't tune in thinking your going to see some exciting man-on-man action because you'll go home very disappointed.

So, the themes are shallow and obvious, the driving is tedious, and the conversations about sex go nowhere.  What does that leave?  There's a setup for some revenge-based violence when the teens announce they've slept with each others girlfriends (which probably isn't true considering when and why they start confessing), but nothing comes of that except time is wasted.  So that just leaves the nudity and sex.  While the scenes may be short, they are plentiful. The boys can't keep their clothing on, swimming naked, bathing naked, having sex several times naked, and masturbating on top of diving boards together naked. (OK—Being I am the Lord of Lust, you'd think I would know about every sex act there is but this one is new to me. So, any males out there in their later teens: Do you go to swimming pools with your male friends and lay there masturbating together? Really, I think it's great if you do. I just haven't seen that one. The closest I can remember is when the Egyptian pharaoh would whack one off before his citizens, shooting into the Nile to prove his fertility. I doubt that there's a connection.)

Luisa also strips down numerous times, and although director Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabanchildren of Men) tries to remove anything of prurient interest, he can't do it. Verdú is too desirable, too beautiful, for her to ever appear uninteresting. She is a creature of Lust, and I love her for it.

The mistake was in making a film about the two teens.  It's been done far to many times, they aren't that interesting, and there's nothing to say about them which could engage the intellect of anyone who's learned how to read. This should have been Luisa's story. She is someone I'd like to spend an hour and a half with.  There's some compelling drama in her life which is only touched up, she's smart, and she is so, so very fuckable. Verdú dominates every scene she is in anyway.  A bit more of her, and my recommendation would change. But this is the movie they made.

There are both an NC-17 version and an R-rated version.  The second kills whatever point there may to watching the film.

Sins (What does this mean?)

Pride Hmmm.  That's all I'm going to say.
Sloth The teens bum around for the first part of the film but aren't very happy about it.
Avarice Nothing.
Gluttony Alcohol and dancing help everyone to realize that all they need is sex.
Aesthetics Maribel Verdú is gorgeous.  There's also some nice beaches.
Surrogate Cruelty Nada.
Thought Only if you haven't done much thinking in your life.
Humor How funny do you find premature ejaculation?
Lust Lots of nudity and a healthy amount of sex, but it takes up little screen time.  The main characters discuss sex a lot, and no one promotes abstinence or even monogamy.


Buy It


Film Info

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Producer: Alfonso Cuarón, Jorge Vergara

Writers: Alfonso Cuarón, Carlos Cuarón

Cast: Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, Maribel Verdú

Language: Spanish

Runtime: 105 min