Películas Frenéticas, the collective pseudonym for the three directors (Alfonso Albacete, Miguel Bardem and David Menkes) responsible for this picture, bring us a frantic, Chasing Amy-esque tale of seven young hipsters rampaging through Madrid on a coke-charged humping spree. There's Max (Nancho Novo) the possibly homicidal gigolo, Monica (Cayetana Guillen Cuervo) the nymphomaniac bartender-come-actress, Yeye (Ingrid Rubio) the innocent idealist, Maria (Beatriz Santiago) the lonely hepcat, Alberto (Gustavo Salmeron) the artistic and adventuresome homosexual-whose-mother-doesn't-know, Alex (Javier Albala) the ambiguous bisexual who complicates Alberto's life, David (Liberto Rabal) the straight cokehead Alberto lusts after, Luis (Javier Manrique) the cop on Max's six, and three drag queens thrown in for street cred. If this all sounds complex, it isn't.
Once in play, these characters are about as predictable as they are emotionally crude. Lest we forget the motivation of any given character at any point in the film, each one explicitly states his or her ambitions at every opportunity. Perhaps some subtlety is lost in translation (many of the English subtitles are misspelled), but the dialog of this flick holds about as much nuance as professional wrestling commentary. Fortunately, the characters themselves are so incomprehensibly flat as to eliminate the need for rich dialog. The one exception here is Ingrid Rubio's portrayal of the sensitive and wholesome Yeye, around whom most of the picture revolves. Though all of the characters are presumed to have some kind of emotional depth, only Yeye comes off as sincere--and this she does beautifully. Rubio's charisma goes a long way toward compensating for the rest of the cast.
The film does have some redeeming moments, though, raising some fairly interesting questions about what lies at the center of all this crazed behavior and whether it's possible for scenesters like these to find any meaning in their relationships. The suggested answer, unfortunately, is probably not. Though the cinematography is mediocre at best, the good looks of the cast make for tolerable viewing and the soundtrack is great if you like house music.
This is a great movie if you're looking for a way to show off your international panache to your whiny, sarcastic Goth friends, or if you just want to watch people screw. Otherwise, stay home.
Aka Más que amor, frenesí.
Run time: 125 mins
In Theaters: Friday 15th November 1996
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Starring: Nancho Novo as Max, Cayetana Guillén Cuervo as Mónica, Ingrid Rubio as Yeye, Beatriz Santiago as María, Javier Manrique as Luis, Javier Albalá as Alex, Liberto Rabal as David, Bibiana Fernández as Cristina, Juan Diego Botto as Carlos, Gustavo Salmerón as Alberto