Film Review: Compadres

With "Compadres" like this, you don't need enemies.
Major Releases

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 (José 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 hit man, 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 a 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 film, 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.--The Hollywood Reporter

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