7 Dias



Xenon Pictures

The suspense and laughs are of the mildest sort in this unconvincing clock-ticking caper, which pits a young aspiring concert impresario -- and his dreams -- against the mob. Writer-director Fernando Kalife has cobbled together a film that feels very much like a first feature; what comes across is not so much the compulsion to tell this particular story as the desire to make a film. At the center of the implausible action is worship of U2 as "the greatest band in the world," which won't endear it to those who beg to differ. Neither will "7 Dias" -- which opens Friday in Los Angeles, two years after its bow in Mexico -- generate the awards attention it received on home turf.

Eduardo Arroyuelo plays nice guy Claudio, whose desperate gambling ploy backfires and leaves him at the wrong end of the gun held by mob boss Zamacona (Roberto D'Amico, in one of the film's better performances). But the gangster's thug-with-a-heart-of-gold son, Tony (Jaime Camil), hears the magic word "U2" and convinces Dad to spare Claudio so he can produce the Irish rockers' first concert in Monterrey, Mexico, and thereby raise the half a million dollars he owes. Claudio gets a seven-day reprieve.

What ensues is a mismatched-buddy story as Tony and Claudio join forces to woo investors -- each, naturally, more eccentric than the last. As the swaggering, leather-jacketed Tony, Camil gets past the stereotype to create a likable character, but Arroyuelo's milquetoast lead is too bland to root for. Kalife draws mostly weak performances from the rest of his cast.

According to the script's glossed-over biz talk, the band and label will choose between the central duo and an established promoter who happens to be a creep. Claudio has scant experience but an arsenal of adages from his late brother, a successful concert promoter and as much a saint in the story as the unseen Bono (who gave the filmmakers his blessing, and access to concert footage). Tony's SUV features a dashboard altar to U2, but the film's admiration of the band seems more related to its commercial clout than anything else and doesn't lend the story the intended heft or consequence.