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An American Asshole in Mexico: A Review of "Y Tu Mama Tambien"

By Cody Wayne
July 16th, 2002

Here's a little something for the NAMBLA crowd.

RATING: See it sober… it provides a natural injection of Viagra at times.

First of all, I’d just like to complain.  I’m an American.  I’m an asshole.  I have the right.

The theater I saw this film in was a piece of shit.  Yeah, so I only paid $3 to see “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” but those guys started the film 15 minutes late because they loaded the wrong film (how the fuck does that happen?!) and then they fucked up 2/3’s of the way through and the film came off the reel.  It took them another 15 minutes to rethread the shit, and then they didn’t have the picture lined up so I could see the subtitles.  Those guys are assholes.  But, because this is America, I was able to get a free pass and saw the film a second time.  God bless America, people.  God bless this blessed God blessed country.

On with the review…

This film was heralded and hailed as having all kinds of sex scenes splattered all over the place much like “Basic Instinct”, but lemme tell ya right now, there’s about five sex scenes and they’re all very short-lived.  It’s not the whole fucking movie, OK!  Guys, you might pop a halfy and some point.  Girls, ya might get slightly dewy.  That’s it, now let’s move on.

We open up to a sex scene and a Mexican movie poster of “Harold & Maude,” a film I’d just seen less than a week before (coincidence, I think not!) with themes sorta/kinda resembling those in “Y Tu,” just without the huge age gap.  (Now, didn’t the Supreme Court do something to ban child porn?  Right here, I’m seeing two minors engaging in pre-marital sex.  What is the world coming to?  Even “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys” has minors talking about and engaging in compromising sexual situations.  Now, are we gonna stand for this?  This is an outrage!  I will not have mine eyes tarnished with the thoughts and visions of minors engaging in carnal activities.  Get out of my mind, devil!)

So we’ve got three main characters; Tenoch, Julio, and Luisa.  Luisa is a foxy Spaniard looking for a carefree, damn-good time (we find out why at the end), Julio is a middle-class Mexican adolescent, and Tenoch is his upper-class best friend.  They are bold and very free young men with nothing to think about but their socializing, their drugs, their girls, and how they’re gonna get a car.  Not too shocking, but for some reason, I didn’t think Mexico had carefree young people like that.  I figured they were all vying for survival.  Just goes to show how exposed and cultured I am.  To me, Mexicans are people who scuttle across the border to sell me fat shrimp burritos in tiny taco shacks called “Mariscos.”

            Julio and Tenoch have a very strong bond rooted in their mutual carelessness and love of stupid crazy plans, like smoking some “sticky” pot and eating “organic” E from San Francisco before going to a party.  They represent that aspect of life that cares nothing for consequences, seeking out only instantaneous pleasures and seeking them out every chance they get, and without harm to others… the way it should be.  They represent life before it gets an inkling of what death and regret are.

            Luisa, as we find out from the ghostly narration*, is completely alone in the world.  Everyone, relatives, friends, lovers, in her life has died, tragically and painfully, but she doesn’t show it.  She represents that aspect of life that rolls with the punches, the kicks, the round-houses, and the jabs and keeps walking in a full upright position, respecting life for its majesty because of what she knows of death.

            Holy Christ!  This is sheer genius!  Who the fuck wrote this shit? Oh, Alfonso Cuaron and Carlos Cuaron.  Directed by Alfonso.

*Now back to that narration: There’s a deep ghostly narration which periodically churns up throughout the film to remind us of the fact that, although there is no direct action taking place to SHOW us what’s going on behind the scenes of LIFE, there are, indeed, minute yet incredible facets of life that are rarely, if ever, talked about.  I was reminded of the film “Magnolia.”  It was the idea that, below the surface of what would be considered waking life, there are all sorts of other inner workings at play that we’ll never know about.  No matter what we experience, no matter how full our taste of life might seem to be in any given moment, there’s always an infinite amount of hidden layers at play that will always remain undiscoverable.  As they say in the film, “Truth is a marvelous thing, but we’ll never reach it,” or something like that (it’s one of their rules as friends).  We just can’t fathom it all.  And that’s life, and who’s to say who’s living life and getting a full experience or not, eh?  Don’t think that just because you’re looking at a spoiled rich 16-year-old that he or she isn’t taking life by the horns and ridin’ it through flamin’ rings.  You have to be an asshole piece of shit to think that you’re getting more out of life than anyone else.  There’s no way to prorate anyone’s lifestyle according to a quantitative measure of experience… 

And this is how we learn to hate the character Jano in less than 60 seconds and to hate him further in the following few scenes.

One of the best parts of the film is a scene in which the two boys express their unabashed loathing of the United States.  While Julio and Tenoch talk about the rules of their friendship, we find that one of them is, “If you root for America, then you’re a faggot.*”  Oh my God!  They’re openly unsympathetic to the United States!  Hell fuckin’ yeah!  Think this film could’ve come out even six months ago?  Hell no!  We ARE a bunch of whining faggots!

*"My apologies to all who recognize the fact that the film was NOT, in fact, refering to the United States of AMERICA. My ignorance on this subject shines through all the guestbook entries that have been made in regards to this shit. As I see it now, the guys in the film are actually refering to all of the Americas and are in no way putting the US of A down."

Let me just go ahead and put this in no uncertain terms: Go see this film.  There is a disappointment factor of 0.  But of course, this is all assuming that you’re a human being.

Another great thing about this film is the way everything gets fleshed out (no pun intended).  It’s one of those films that breezes by without you noticing.  The subject matter is effortless and fully satisfying, natural and mature, eye-opening and pure.

Am I making sense here?

Here’s another unnoticeable (except through the glazies of a skilled observer like myself).  If you pay close, unwavering attention, you’ll notice many long, well-choreographed scenes that put “Goodfellas” ta shame.  The acting is perfect, the photography is pristine, and every mark is hit without a hitch.  Acting should be done so as not to bring light to the fact that you’re acting.  This film plays like a documentary.

The only thing I hate about this movie is the fact that, had the gender roles been reversed, there would have been a whole new political twist, but because it was two GUYS who were getting’ in on this whole ultra-male fantasy deal, everything was all right.  Put two girls in that role with an older guy and that guy would automatically be considered an ultra sleaze bag.  In the case of “Y Tu Mama,” Luisa doesn’t seem like a slut or a sleaze, but a mentor, a guide, and more than anything, a self-made woman of strict convictions who has a great sense of fun and adventure, as well as a terrific body.  She looks amazing in a bikini.  It’s a wonder she’s not in a thong throughout the film.  Alas, the story, filming, and acting actually move the film.  Holy shit!  It’s a real fucking film!  AND, holy shit, get this, there’s plenty of graphic nudity!!!  Silly Americans…

The most important lesson of the film: I’ve gotta stop jacking off so much.