A los 40 (2014)

alos40poster2014

Release date: May 01, 2014
Director: Bruno Ascenzo
Screenplay by: Bruno Ascenzo
Cast: Carlos Alcántara, Katia Condos, Gianella Neyra, Sofía Rocha, Carlos Carlín, Wendy Ramos, Johanna San Miguel, Lali Espósito, Stefano Salvini, Andrés Wiese, Patricia Portocarrero, Gabriela Velasquez

When it comes to reasons as to why people should see Peru’s latest blockbuster, one of the reasons they’ll often tell you is because it’s Peruvian and that we should support Peruvian cinema. Nowadays it’s easier to say that given the success of Asu Mare, but as Mirella says; cinema is something that isn’t patriotic at all. However, I’ll give you one legitimate reason to see A los 40 despite its unappealing trailer [1]: Sofía Rocha.

The movie deals with an all-girls high school reunion, gathering the ex-classmates who finished high school 25 years ago. What seems to be a simple rencounter turns into wackyness and not-so-smooth moments for certain characters, which makes them reevaluate their lives as well as their future.

Just like Asu Mare, A los 40 relies on nostalgia and easy humor, gags and lines tailored for Peruvian masses. While the former had a strong backbone in Carlos Alcántara’s life as its source, A los 40 doesn’t fully live up to its title in regards to the issues most of its characters deal with since almost none of those are exclusively linked to the characters’ current age… except for reality TV star Julia Dueñas (San Miguel), who has a troubled relationship with her Argentinean daughter Melissa (Espósito), and also happens to have an affair with a younger guy (Salvini), who studies with Melissa. To a certain extent, the relationship between Francesca (Condos) and Luis Miguel (Alcántara) goes with the film’s title as Francesca wants to get married to Luis Miguel despite his son (from another relationship) not fully respecting her. The rest of the issues are things people would have dealt with before turning 40 years old: work, relationships, friendships, lives and so on.

Let’s talk about the best: Sofía Rocha as Bárbara, the workaholic closeted lesbian who had a past relationship with Sofía (Neyra) back in their high school days… but things have changed and so have their lives. Bárbara became a successful businesswoman and had a family while Sofía became a professional photographer, they meet again and it is interesting to watch. Rocha’s presence and strong non-stereotyped performance in A los 40 along with her great chemistry with Neyra provided some really unexpected interest and engagement towards her character, and not only because almost everyone else was uninteresting to watch. Bárbara stands strong on her own account in any other environment or film, she was awesome.

For better or worse, A los 40 works as a Pataclaun reunion (of sorts) with rampant Peruvian stereotyping. While Wendy Ramos fared decently as Lourdes, the nerdy reunion organizer, and Gonzalo Torres was reduced to a mere cameo, Carlos Carlín was the hit-or-miss nerdy pathetic Eddy who ends up having things in common with Lourdes — Pataclaun fans can now say Tony finally had his way with Wendy (the pairing worked quite well). On the other hand, Johanna San Miguel shouts way too much for my taste- she wasn’t that funny to me with her lines and the idea of her having an Argentinean as her daughter is head-scratching, and while Espósito’s performance was slightly less irritating, the other two guys involved with them were pretty much eye candy material, yet slightly more human than them.

Alcántara was a mixed bag: while he had his share of funny moments and gelled well with Condos (who fared better with Rocha in a scene when they reevaluate their lives), he suffers the most when Luis Miguel goes all Death at a Funeral on us, and the film becomes a hit-or-miss stoner potfest. The worst happened when Luis Miguel popped up as comedy relief in the strongest scene, preventing the film from getting into real territory. The uneven writing for him made me wonder if Bruno Ascenzo actually wrote the screenplay all by himself considering Tondero Films was hellbent on replicating Asu Mare‘s success at any cost.

While the above seems like I’m really disappointed with A los 40, at least I didn’t left the theater enraged and frustrated like I did with Rock of Ages. A los 40 isn’t anything special or original with its average content, but I would really love to see Sofía Rocha in better projects. She makes this film get an extra quarter star from me.

Rating: ★★¾☆☆ 

Rodrigo

YAM Magazine contributor, has a B. Sc. degree in Science/Pharmacy and is a very lazy person.

11 Responses

  1. amy says:

    So… you liked this less than Asu Mare? That doesn’t fare too good for me. xD

    • Rodrigo says:

      @amy, Most likely you won’t like it. But I really wanted AL40 to be all about Sofía Rocha. If anything, I wanted to see a lot more of her (and Gianella Neyra) than say, Stoner-Alcántara and Johanna San Miguel’s storyline (who might as well be the JSM that appears on Esto Es Guerra). Bruno Ascenzo supports LGBT rights, but the film’s trailer won’t tell you that they’re having a LGBT storyline (sort of) because that would wreck their box office profits. Well, there’s a movement already against the film for that storyline.

      Still better than 300:ROAE, though.

      • amy says:

        @Rodrigo, oh- seriously? Haven’t heard a thing about any backlash. But yeh, you wouldn’t really suspect a LGBT storyline in a movie like this… at least not one that is not play for laughs. I’m having a hard time thinking of local girl-girl serious stories on tv or film, representation is almost exclusively on gay men, who are 99.9999999% of the time stereotypical effeminate men playing on their relationship or lack thereof.

        • Rodrigo says:

          @amy, Based on Google searching, they mentioned on interviews earlier during production that an LGBT storyline was going to happen. But… 1) I rarely pay attention to development stuff for a good chunk of films and 2) when the advertising started to roll, absolutely nothing hinted at that storyline happening. So in that way, I was surprised with it on the big screen.

  2. mirella says:

    Thanks for the name drop xD
    Eh, I watched it with a friend and I will give it a solid 3, since Johanna San Miguel didn’t bother me and well, considering I know a case of a woman who has an “Argentinian” son (in fact they are my neighbors) I didn’t find that part of her storyline head-scratching at all xD
    Also, because Sofía Rocha is a HBIC and I love love loved every time she was on, either with Gianella Neyra, Katia Condos or Johanna xD

    • Rodrigo says:

      @mirella, On your neighbors…. #themoreyouknow – yet, JSM’s daughter could have been Peruvian and the storyline would have been the same.

      I’m glad we fully agree on Rocha. She deserves all the praise she can get.

  3. amy says:

    My ovaries may have exploded when they started singing Pandora, I’m just saying.

    • Rodrigo says:

      @amy, You watched this? That’s way earlier than I expected you to do. I guess — Edited other means of distribution — for this have been more successful than Asu Mare (granted that people were trying to pass the stand-up show as the film, lol).

      • amy says:

        @Rodrigo, I think the film is more successful than Asu Mare as a narrative, because the other just relied on enacting elements of the stand-up narrative that was already there. They totally sound funny as stories, but I thought they were quite boring on film.

        I liked Rocha, but not as impressed as you seemed to be, and I didn’t mind San Miguel as much as you hated her. She was really funny in her scene with Rocha, but she has no range as an actress… though you could say that from most claun people. They’re all great funny clauns, but they always end up playing one of the two versions they have. Carlin either plays the too-good-to-be-true character or the total dufus, Alcantara is always The Dude (and he got to play his innocent version when high on film), and San Miguel is ALWAYS loud. Really hated her daughter though and her whole storyline. xD

        I think a fair comparison would be This Is 40, and you can tell both are written by two different people. One hasn’t lived up to nowhere near his 40s (or the people that suggested plots haven’t lived enough) and one is over 40. Relationship issues are a mere element in their lives and not necessarily a top priority- there are issues with parents, and for people with families there are big money issues, issues with your neighbors, the people that study with your kids, your boss, clients, co-workers… maybe they’ve taken courses in university.

        And I still refuse to believe that people that are now in their 40s would be singing Pandora and making some of the references they were making.

        Anyway, I didn’t like the stories so much as some commendable acting from Rocha and Condos… and maybe a bit of Neyra. I was even thinking of writing a small post on the contrast of reactions from people at the cinema during the Brokeback Mountain kiss and the kiss here.

        • Rodrigo says:

          @amy, Haven’t seen TI40 or its prequel Knocked Up. Wished I did just to compare TI40 with AL40.

          I know JSM is always loud and she might be louder in Esto Es Guerra, but I haven’t seen enough to assess the loudness. Either way, she was annoying to me and not that funny, though general reception towards her in AL40 seems mixed.

          Maybe I loved Rocha a lot more considering my reactions and lack of fucks given towards the other characters that weren’t Rocha, Neyra or Condos.

          And for the kiss in AL40, the reactions were some big gasps and a “oh my god” from a woman. But then Alcántara quickly popped up and everyone laughed while I groaned. I haven’t seen BM on the big screen anywhere.

  1. June 2, 2014

    […] popular movies because they don’t really need my money, so it was a surprise to get to watch A Los 40, mainly for pure LGBT-related […]

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