by Atzin Ortiz, contributing blogger
There’s nothing wrong with being a crowd-pleaser (actually, a great one is a fine virtue few films can truly claim). Last night’s screening of “Días de Vinilo” was sold out and the audience laughed out loud (the guy next to me was incredibly enthusiastic). After having a smash hit with the TV series “Todos Contra Juan”, writer/director Gabriel Nesci makes the cross over to film, but what’s onscreen looks and feels best suited for a sitcom than a feature film.
Damián, Facundo, Luciano and Marcelo (played by Gastón Pauls, Rafael Spregelburd, Fernán Mirás, and Ignacio Toselli respectively) are 4 best friends who share a deep affection for music. They also happen to be crossing a midlife crisis, regarding their women and/or jobs. Damián is a screenwriter who’s writing a new and serious script based on his last relationship with a snobby art critic, who panned his first script (a romantic comedy). Facundo, despite being the ladies man, is getting married, but is having second thoughts and, as a result, he pursues his once true passion: composing music. Luciano is a neurotic radio host whose jealousy and eventual break-up with a hot wannabe singer leaves him deaf. Marcelo has his 20 years old Beatles-tribute band called The Hitles (which is incorrectly mistaken as The Hitlers), and reality will overshadow history when a Colombian-Asian woman, whose initials are those of Yoko Ono, comes to share his apartment.
“Días de Vinilo” has likeable characters and a couple of funny moments, but they perform as a playlist of sketches (some of them worth the rewind, others the fast forward), that functions as a mix-tape instead of a full-length album. Take for instance a recurrent scene (and joke) in the movie that involves Damián and an egocentric actor (a hilarious sort of self parody by Leonardo Sbaraglia) who wants to be the next action hero, a serious actor, and a leading man in a rom-com. It’s a funny vignette, but his appearances are completely random, and, therefore, out-of-place. It can also be said that the movie plays as a “cover” (I’ll continue with the musical allegories) of any run-of-the-mill Hollywood comedy.
Near the climax of the story, there is an introspective moment for the 4 main characters while they watch a tape of themselves 10 years ago. During this particular scene we can finally glimpse what the director is intending with his film: there is a nostalgic urgency for the idealization of the past and the actual face off with a completely opposite present. The same theme can apply to the relationships they have with their careers and their women (what they desire and what they really have). But the movie tries too hard in delivering non-stop gags that the characters end up being the B-sides of their own soundtrack.
If you are looking for a Hollywoodesque light fare flick spoken in Spanish, “Días de Vinilo” might do the job.
Días de vinilo (Argentina-Colombia/2012). Written and Directed by: Gabriel Nesci. Cinematography: Rodrigo Pulpeiro. Music: Guillermo Guareschi. Edited by: Alberto Ponce. Production Designer: Patricia Pernía. Cast: Gastón Pauls, Fernán Miras, Rafael Spregelburd, Ignacio Toselli, Maricel Álvarez, Inés Efrón, Carolina Peleritti, Emilia Attias, Leonardo Sbaraglia. Running Time: 105 minutos.