A Day Without A Mexican, More Like A Movie Without A Clue
I remember way, way back in the day seeing a film titled 'Suffering Bastards'. It was basically a student film, but a student film with an incredibly large budget. First of all it was feature length (very unusual at NYU), second of all it had Eric Bogosian, Gina Gershon and John C. McGinley in it (and they were all names at this point, so it wasn't like this movie 'discovered' them). Third of all it was totally and completely awful. One of the worst things I've ever had the displeasure to watch, actually.
Now the truth is, I've probably seen worse movies. But if there's one thing that can inevitably make a bad movie much, much worse it's somehow, through nepotism, inheritance or just plain idiocy, lots of money was thrown into the project. Nothing is sadder than seeing actually talented people's skills totally wasted on some rich kid's vanity project that should never have seen anything but the bottom of a trash can.
Such is the case with Sergio Arau's 'A Day Without A Mexican'. I'm not going to say I had 'high' hopes for this movie. Granted, it's a mildly funny concept (all Mexicans disappear for a day and California shits its pants), but certainly not one so original that execution of the idea didn't matter. I started watching this movie with guarded optimism, knowing that there's lots of comedy and good points to be mined from it, but knowing it would take cleverness to get at it.
It sucked. And not in a normal 'sucky' way that a lot of little indie comedy movies usually suck. This movie sucked so much that it pissed me off. It takes a lot for a movie to anger me, but this one did. I think partly, it's because there was potential here. It's making a statement that I agree with and that ignorant people need to hear. The only trouble is, this steaming turd of a movie forgot its point 5 minutes into it. The next 85 minutes is high production value crap, poorly written, autopilot material that leaves you with a feeling of wasted time and opportunity. It's the same feeling you get when you go to an 'Anti-Iraq war Rally' and it's filled with burnout hippies screaming about legalizing pot. Except this movie wasn't even cool enough to get distracted by weed. Instead, this movie got distracted by its own bloated sense of brilliance, as if the idea was so good and original that they didn't even have to put any effort into the script at all.
The other thing that really annoys me about this movie is that there's an audience that feels like they can't dislike it. As if they will have to give up all liberal causes and vote for Pat Buchanan in the next election because they dared to point out that this movie was horribly flawed. Just admit that it's probably better that this film didn't get a wider release as most of the Mexican characters are such awful stereotypes and so simple and reactionary that widespread viewing of this film would've done more harm than good.
So unless you're writing a doctoral thesis on massive wastes of time, give 'A Day Without A Mexican' a miss.