Instructions Not Included
Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”
If it accomplishes anything, this hit Mexican import proves that there's a double standard for comedy and drama: The former can get away with a much greater suspension of disbelief than the latter. The first hour of this film is a fairly good Spanish-language comedy; it's a totally unrealistic fantasy set in Hollywood, but at least it's able to generate some chuckles and prove Eugenio Derbez's star charisma. The second hour dives off of a cliff when it attempts to take this cartoon seriously, turning likeable supporting characters into hard-nosed villains to force a dramatic conflict that is laughably inappropriate. The second half is so terrible, trying to force you to cry for these characters who don't behave at all like actual human beings, that it retroactively destroys any good will generated by the first half. A last-minute revelation that justifies some of the more ridiculous plot elements comes too late, after the movie has already crashed and burned. Online reviews indicate that a lot of people loved this movie, so don't take my word for it, but I hated it.