'Compadres': Film Review

Courtesy of Pantelion Films
With "Compadres" like this, you don't need enemies.

Mexican star Omar Chaparro plays a cop who teams up with a teenage computer hacker in this action-buddy comedy.

Proving that Mexico can make action-buddy comedies as wretchedly as Hollywood, Compadres teams that country's comedy star Omar Chaparro with newcomer Joey Morgan (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) in a confusingly contrived tale about a framed cop attempting to clear his name, catch a bad guy and rescue his kidnapped wife. Set on both sides of the border and featuring such American actors as Eric Roberts (naturally) and Kevin Pollak, this lame effort represents international collaboration of the most mediocre kind.

The story begins with Garza (Chaparro), an upright if overeager cop, pursuing a criminal, Santos (Erick Elias), into a warehouse without backup and getting his partner killed in the process. Not long after, Garza's pregnant girlfriend Maria (Aislinn Derbez) is kidnapped by Santos' henchmen, with Garza blackmailed into helping his nemesis escape from jail. The plan works, but Garza is wounded and placed under arrest for his complicity in the prison break. Aided by his sympathetic captain (Jose Sefami), Garza manages to get away and crosses the border to San Diego in search of the "Accountant" (Pollak) who holds the key to Santos' millions and could lead to his capture. Along the way, he reluctantly joins forces with Vic (Morgan), a 17-year-old nerdy and overweight computer hacker. Hilarity does not ensue.

The endlessly convoluted plot features enough betrayals, double-crosses and twists to fuel an entire season of an NBC crime series. The myriad shootouts, fistfights and car chases, none of them staged with any excitement, are combined with puerile, vulgar gags including a graphically rendered depiction of gastrointestinal distress and a Weekend at Bernie's-style corpse joke (credit is given, at least). Combine that with a stuttering hitman, a villain dressed as a clown and a gunfight scored to Edith Piaf, and you've got a seriously demented, but never funny, exploitation film.

Chaparro is an engaging and likeable screen presence, but he's hampered by the subpar material, while Morgan seems to be emulating Jonah Hill (to no avail). Roberts does his patented tough-guy thing as an FBI agent (remember when he actually got an Oscar nomination?) and Derbez (the daughter of Mexican film and television star Eugenio Derbez, recently seen in Miracles From Heaven) is, like virtually every other actress in the pic, costumed for maximum sultry effect.

You have to give the screenwriter points for honesty, at least. "I thought these things only happened in movies," observes Vic after a particularly ridiculous plot element. "Bad movies," Garza replies.

Distributor: Pantelion Films
Production: Draco Films
Cast: Omar Chaparro, Joey Morgan, Eric Roberts, Kevin Pollak, Erick Elias, Aisliann Derbez, Jose Sefami
Director: Enrique Begne
Screenwriters: Ted Perkins, Gabriel Ripstein, Enrique Begne
Producers: Francisco Gonzalez Compean, Jose Nacif
Executive producer: Ben Odell
Director of photography: Federico Barbabosa
Production designer: Miguel Angel Alvarez
Editor: Jorge Macaya
Costume designer: Adela Cortazar
Composer: Joan Valent
Casting: Isabel Menchaca

Rated R, 101 minutes


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