Film Review: Ya VeremosAs the parents of a pre-teen boy possibly going blind, Mauricio Ochmann and Fernanda Castillo can’t quite elevate this predictable comedy-drama, but the likeable actors certainly prevent it from being completely unwatchable.
Thanks to the distributor Pantelion Films, at the end of every August a commercial Mexican film gets a significant U.S. theatrical release. In 2013, Instructions Not Included became a sleeper hit in the States. However, last year’s entry, Hazlo Como Hombre, one of the highest-grossing films ever in Mexico, failed to find an equally large American audience. This year’s prospect, Ya Veremos (the title translates as “We’ll See”), also did boffo box office in Mexico, but will likely struggle to cross over. That may be more because Pitipol Ybarra’s family film is often as juvenile as its central character.
Santi (Emiliano Aramayo) is an 11-year-old boy whose parents, Rodrigo (Mauricio Ochmann) and Alejandra (Fernanda Castillo) are divorced. As the film opens, Rodrigo is picking Santi up for two weeks while his mother flies off with her new, jet-set partner, Enrique (Erik Hayser). However, when Rodrigo discovers Santi is having some trouble with his vision, he consults a doctor who says Santi has juvenile glaucoma and needs an operation to help save his sight. Faced with the prospect of going blind in two weeks, Santi puts together a bucket list of things he wants to do—and see. Moreover, he wants both his parents to help him see him through his wishes.
The plot traversesParent Trap territory, so, initially, the adults use their son against each other. To wit, Rodrigo encourages Santi to fulfill his fantasy of seeing a wrestling match, knowing full well that Alejandra has forbidden this activity because it is violent. She, in turn, gets back at her ex-husband by having Rodrigo, who is afraid of snakes, pose for a photo with a python at the stadium. When Santi wants to dye his hair, Alejandra mischievously insists Rodrigo get his hair dyed the same color. Ochmann is appealing with blue streaks; Aramayo, in contrast, looks like he still needs a haircut.
The level of humor is pitched to amuse younger viewers. Yet even kids may roll their eyes at a lame running joke about carrots. But they will likely laugh at the obvious gags involving Rodrigo and Alejandro falling into the water when Santi wants to go water skiing.
Overall, however, the comedy is neither funny enough nor clever enough to sustain the film’s brief running time. It is debatable which sequence is more cringe-inducing: the one where Santi desires to see a naked woman—in the flesh—and Rodrigo contrives a shower scenario involving his aggressive one-night stand, Irma (Estefanía Ahumada), or where Santi gets behind the wheel and goes driving into oncoming traffic. Even when the humor focuses on Rodrigo’s work as an obstetrician, with anxious patients, anxious doctors, and wisecracks about someone’s weight or age, the comedy falls mostly flat.
Despite all of the mediocrity, there are a handful of sweet moments in the film. When Rodrigo and Alejandra talk honestly, and from the heart, rather than scheme and bicker, Ochmann and Castillo display considerable romantic sparks. Likewise, a gentle scene at an outdoor concert, where Santi goes and befriends a blind boy, is quite nice. And there is some real emotion generated when Rodrigo looks heartbroken at his son wearing a blindfold and imagining what his life without sight might be like. It’s a subtle, touching moment in Ochmann’s broad, comic performance. The actor often acts like a big kid here, and his gusto gives the film its verve. Castillo, for her part, mostly radiates warmth.
Ya Veremos exaggerates the idea of catering to a kid’s every whim, but it does this to emphasize the importance of busy parents making time to spend with their children. The workaholic Rodrigo is scolded for always having time for his patients and not his son. That message is important, and it won’t get lost on viewers. That may be because the film is about as subtle and as deep as a sitcom. Rodrigo and Alejandra never seem to stay mad at Santi even when he misbehaves; the romance that re-develops between Rodrigo and Alejandra involves only some minor kissing and hand-holding; and the outcome of Santi’s eye surgery holds no surprises.
Ybarra’s comedy-drama is meant to be pure escapism. Nevertheless, as wish-fulfillment comedies go, one wishes Ya Veremos was better. Perhaps an American remake will be? We’ll see.