Original Title: No se aceptan devoluciones
Director: Eugenio Derbez
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Instructions Not Included (English Subtitled)
“Ay, ay, ay, ay. Canta y no llores, Porque cantando se alegran, Cielito lindo, los corazones”
I like Mexican music, like Trio Los Panchos, Jorge Negrete, Javier Solís and so on. The Mexican supporters are one of the best in the world and have one particular thing that I love: They sing “Cielito Lindo” in every game.
The traditional Mexico team began its activities in the early 20’s, but only in 1927, had their football association formed and in 1929 accepted by FIFA.
The team was a participant in almost all editions of the tournament. They didn’t qualify in 1934, 1974 and 1982, withdrew in the 1938 qualifications and were banned from participation in 1990.
The 1990 ban was in consequence of a corruption scandal involving the Mexican Football Federation and the youth-level teams. I have to say if they banned every Federation involved in corruption Football (and most other sports) would be over.
Mexico hosted two world cups, the first in 1970, won by a stellar Brazilian team and in 1986, won by Maradona’s Argentina. Colombia would be the host of the 1986 World Cup, but the South American country renounced as host mainly due to economic reasons.
In both occasions where Mexico hosted the tournament, they reached the Quarter-Finals, until this day the best record for them.
Since 1986, with exception of the 1990 ban, Mexico was qualified for every single one of the tournaments and from 1994 to 2014, they always reached the Round of 16, unfortunately never going further.
To be honest, I don’t see current Mexico going further than Round of 16 again. The most likely opponent in the said phase will be Brazil, and imagining that Neymar will not fuck up, as he did against Real Madrid in the Champions League, Brazil is favorite.
I always liked Giovani dos Santos, like many, I thought he would be amazing, but he never was. Right now, he plays for LA Galaxy alongside his younger brother Jonathan dos Santos and let’s be honest, LA Galaxy is no Tottenham Hotspur.
The best player and greatest hope for scoring is Javier Hernández, but every time I read his name, it takes a few seconds to realize that it’s talking about Chicharito, now at West Ham United, playing the best football league in the planet.
Valentín is a coward stunt double who raised his daughter as a single father since she was a baby. Seven years later, the mother who left the girl reappears, bringing both happiness and trouble.
Before talking about the actual film, I had to take something off my chest.
I decided to review “Instructions Not Included” for Mexico before the announcement of the World Cup Special, back when I was planning it.
Fast-forward to Wednesday, when I went to theaters to watch Avengers: Infinity War (which I won’t review), and I saw the trailer of a Brazilian remake of the Mexican No se aceptan devoluciones.
The lead will be the worst actor I have ever seen, give me Tommy Wiseau over Leandro Hassum any day. Everything he touches turns to shit, overacting to be funny, but it is just stupid and unnatural. It disgusts me.
Brazilian mainstream comedies are usually shit, the trailer of “Não Se Aceitam Devoluções” was garbage and the final cut of the movie have everything to be disgusting.
It is definitely a good movie, very funny and emotional, sometimes a little silly, not in a Leandro-Hassum-plain-stupid way, just silly in a good comedic way.
Eugenio Derbez is the director and the lead actor, giving life to Valentín. As a kid, Valentín’s father, “Johnny” Bravo, made him face his fears to prepare him for life, to make him courageous, but as an adult, he remained kind of a coward.
He was living his life, having one-night stands with several random women in his Acapulco home, until some Julie woman (Jessica Lindsey) showed up with a baby girl, allegedly his daughter. The woman disappears, leaving the girl behind.
He goes illegally to Los Angeles, trying to find Julie and give the baby back, but later decide to raise Maggie on his own. While there, he meets Frank Ryan (Daniel Raymont) that offers him a job as a stunt double.
Seven years later, Valentín and the daughter, Maggie (Loreto Peralta), live a fun and luxurious life, provided by his fat salary as a stunt double, a job that requires a huge amount of courage.
Like I said before, Valentín is actually the contrary of courageous, he’s a coward, but with Maggie in mind, he accomplishes any stunt required, to not disappoint her.
Their life goes on, until one day, a visit to the doctor changes everything, and the doctor announces to Valetín that, due to some incurable condition, he and his daughter will have little time to enjoy the life together.
In this inopportune moment, Julie returns to their life and wants to reconnect with Maggie.
Even with Julie In the mix, I think the movie is more about the paternal relationship. We have the love and care of Valentín and Maggie, and through his feelings towards his daughter, he could understand why his father acted the way he did during his childhood.
Even living for years in the US, Valentín doesn’t speak English and Maggie act as his “spokeschild”. The girl, Loreto Peralta, is American with Mexican filiation, she speaks good English, and Spanish in the movie, and I guess she was raised bilingual.
The colors are very vibrant and warm and it’s a nice choice for the beautiful Acapulco to the sunny urban L.A., being constant through the whole movie. It’s not a shit gimmick like the already reviewed “13 Reasons Why” or the 2000 “Traffic”.
Just as a side note, I love Traffic, but the extremely saturated colors just turned me off constantly.
The film has funny moments and emotional, heart-warming moments in its 2-hours duration and in spite of the heavy theme of terminal illness, the movie is actually quite light in spirit.
Instructions Not Included is a very funny comedy with a very beautiful message and love pouring from it. It knows when to be serious, knows how to move us and almost bring us to tears and I think it deserves even more recognition than it does. 9 Moons.