The Movie Binge

Review: Only Human


Despite the reassurance of Radiohead, meeeting people is not easy. Especially when it's your fiance's parents. And you're Palestinian and she's Jewish. And you may have killed her father. And, well, you get the idea.

Only Human is a Spanish film written and directed by husband and wife pair Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri. The lovely couple referred to above, Gloria and Rafi played by Maria Botto and Guillermo Toledo, lead us through this slapstick tale that's spiked with morality. It reminds me of a Spanish-language Meet the Parents with a distinct European sensibility.

The slapstick side of Only Human is fun, but ultimately forgettable. I have no specific grievances about the acting or the gags, but Cinecultist and I both agreed that this doesn't really add much to the lexicon of film. What sets the film apart is its desire to provide a unique perspective on the Palestinian/Israeli issue. Unfortunately, it has a mild personality disorder. I liked the idea of this being solely a goofy film using the ultimate frightening fiance for a traditional Jewish mother. The idea is cute and the mother (Norma Aleandro) played it just right.

What threw me off was a scene in the third act when the young couple had a genuine argument about the conflict between their people. It's not that I don't want to hear it, but it worked better as an unspoken tension. Letting it free changed my perspective on the film. But if you're content with a good time with some crazy Spanish characters, then it shouldn't have much effect on you. I definitely enjoyed myself despite the lack of cohesiveness and I'm confident you will too.

As a footnote, I could really see Ben Stiller in the man's role if this were remade in the States. But instead of Teri Polo, I'm picturing Renee Zellweger. It's nothing I'd want to see, but with lack of originality in Hollywood today I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see it in Summer 2010.