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Only Human (R)

Release Date: June 16th, 2006 (Quad Cinema and AMC Lincoln Square) by Magnolia Pictures.
The Cast: Norma Aleandro, Guillermo Toledo, Marián Aguilera, Maria Botto, Fernando Ramallo, Alba Molinero, Max Berliner, Mario Martin.
Directed by Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri.
In Spanish with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: Leni (Aguilera) brings her Palestinian fiancée, Rafi (Toledo), home to meet her Jewish family.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Only Human mixes a winning variety of bizarre, dark, satirical, and physical humor along with some comedy of error and sexual innuendo. Hilarity quickly ensues when Leni brings Rafi to a Sabbath dinner with her off-beat family members. Before the dinner, her family has no idea Rafi is actually Palestinian. Gloria (Aleandro), her mother, appears to have a nervous breakdown when she finds out the news. Leni’s teenager brother, David (Ramallo) goes overboard with his ultra-orthodox customs inspired, so he claims, by watching Fiddler on the Roof. Also, he has a beloved pet duck—a real one. His little sister, Paula (Molinero) goes through a bizarre phase during which she thinks she’s pregnant. Maria Botto plays the horny, seductive older sister. Max Berliner provides plenty of comic relief as their blind grandfather who nonchalantly points a loaded rifle at Rafi when they first meet. The comedy of errors starts when Rafi accidentally drops frozen soup out the window and knocks somebody on the head down below. This “somebody”, Rafi learns, turns out to be Ernesto, Leni’s father, who doesn’t show up to the dinner—which Gloria believes is because he’s having an affair. Soon enough, the body of the man disappears. Was that really Ernesto? Is he dead or injured? Or is he just having an affair? Co-writers/directors Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri have many comic and dramatic surprises up their sleeve, none of which should be spoiled here. Just like in El Crimen Perfecto, Guillermo Toledo proves to be a very funny actor with great comic timing—like a Spanish version of Will Ferrell. Even though the third act loses some comic steam, there’s enough dramatic tension and energetic performances to keep you thoroughly entertained.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.


IN A NUTSHELL: Outrageously funny! A laugh-out-loud comedy of errors filled with deliciously dark humor. A must-see!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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