Friday, December 4, 2020


 Opening this weekend:

Half Brothers--Back in the '90s, young Renato's adored father left Mexico on an undocumented crossing into the U.S., promising to return when his fortunes improved. He never did.

Fast forward to the present, and Renato (Luis Gerardo Mendez), grown into a snazzy, successful businessman, gets called to his father's deathbed in Chicago. Understandably bitter, he initially declines the invitation, but his fiancee insists, sure he needs to resolve his father issues in order to be a decent stepdad to her disturbingly eccentric son.

When Renato gets to the Windy City, he's stricken to learn that he has a half-brother, Asher (Connor Del Rio), a good-natured but insufferably obnoxious screw-up. The old man's final wish is for Renato and Asher to take a road trip together to learn why he never came back to Mexico, and the two have wacky adventures along the way.

Luke Greenfield's film echoes such earlier movies as A Family Thing and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, among others. But the movie that Half Brothers really reminded me of was 2010's Due Date, a sometimes unpleasant but fascinating, vividly-acted road comedy with Robert Downey, Jr. as a cold-fish upscale architect and Zach Galafianakis as a hopelessly inappropriate aspiring actor forced to travel together. Like that film, Half Brothers sometimes has too much psychological realism; the actors bring a level of emotional exposure that's too painful for the kind of slapstick sentimental comedy it wants to be.

Despite this, the film has warmth, and some potent depictions of the horrors of the Mexican immigrant experience. And, perhaps taking a cue from the French bulldog in Due Date, it has an adorable little goat. When in doubt, put in a cute animal.

1 comment:

  1. Well usual. Enough info to make me want to see it. Not enough to give it all away. Good job!