A Day Without A Mexican review by Tom Blain

One cheap hombre

When I go to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video (which isnt as often as I go to my local library) for a video, I like to take my time in the new releases. These big corporate video stores like to keep walls of the latest, greatest and most talked about movies. Its mind-boggling sometimes when you see before your very eyes 162 copies of Sideways staring at your like a DVD army marching towards you wallet. But what I like to observe are the movies that fill in the cracks between these battalions of pop rental. Often Blockbuster and Hollywood video keep a small but solid collection of foreign, indy and small time films; sometimes just one DVD a piece. More often than not a movie of that nature grabs my attention more than something like Elektra and such is the case with A Day Without a Mexican. The title brings to life an interesting premise that if played out properly could yield high laughs as well as thoughtful introspection.

But unfortunately its a bit lame.

A Day Without a Mexican begins by introducing us to a number of San iego families that are Mexican or have people in their family with Mexican heritage. One is a Mexican musician with a Caucasian blonde wife. One is a television news reporter. Another guy is an orange farmer. Anyway, one day they start disappearing. At first a large chunk of Mexicans in California are reported as missing. Then slowly most of the Mexicans we have been introduced to (with the exception of the TV woman) disappear as well.

So what would you expect to happen in California? Probably something close to what happens in the movie. Most of the menial tasks such as picking fruit, working construction on the freeway, and running restaurants are left undone and cities like L.A. begin to fall apart. Statistics are displayed within certain scenes about how many Mexicans do this type of work and what percentage of this is done by Latinos. The movie even mocks border patrol men (the ones in the movie are portrayed as utter buffoons relying on the people they kick out of the country to make a living).

So the movie succeeded in getting its point across at least to me. What it didnt succeed in doing was entertain me. Or make much sense beyond its central point. For a narrative, there really is about 30 minutes of footage within this movie that is necessary. The rest is cheap filler that looks like a disjointed soap opera from Telemundo. There are strange music video interludes with bad music. There are storylines revolving around children had in affairs, lies about true heritage, racist family members, and an unexplainable pink cloud encapsulating all of California. Little of this adds anything at all to the true point of the film which is to bring light to a race of people who are often ignored. While watching the movie I wondered if was made to look like a Telemundo soap opera on purpose or if its just the style of the director.

I also wondered why they didnt go the route of making this a documentary instead of a fictional narrative. The point of this movie would have had a lot more force if we viewed the lives of real people as opposed to making up ludicrous stories of characters played by independent actors. There are moments where numbers and statistics are displayed on screen, so its seems the movie leans towards documentary at times, but in the end what we have on our hands is a laughable fictional movie.

All in all if you tune into this movie for the first 20 to 30 minutes you will get the point. You can remove the disc at this point and understand what the director is trying to say. If you want to see some goofy drama afterwards, well thats your choice but its not the choice I would recommend. A Day Without a Mexican was a great idea that was not executed to its potential.




2 out of 10 Jackasses
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