Related Articles: Movies, All

Torremolinos 73

Pornografia, por favor.

Selling products door-to-door has never been a particularly glamorous (or gratifying) profession. Alfredo (Javier Camara) encounters countless slammed doors in his vain attempt to peddle encyclopedias. Confronted with over three months of unpaid rent and a stack of unopened bills, Alfredo and his wife, Carmen (Candela Pena) find themselves contemplating a seamy option for making ends meet in Torremolinos 73.

Presented with the option of losing his job or making adult films with his wife, Alfredo's moral and ethical hang-ups quickly dissipate. What unfolds in Torremolinos 73 is in some respects a Spanish version of Boogie Nights. The film takes place in the same general timeframe (circa 1973) and includes scenes of glamorous parties and excessive spending. What is absent are the drug abuse-induced descent and the dark, depressing tone of the aforementioned film.

In its place is a tone that is light-hearted and humorous for the most part, but the laughs become more infrequent as the film progresses. Once Alfredo and Carmen get over the initial awkwardness of their situation, there isn't much left to laugh at. All seems blissful and carefree for the couple as all of their financial woes evaporate.

More problematic is the radical transformation both Alfredo and Carmen undergo seemingly overnight. Carmen becomes a sultry and provocative temptress whereas she was formerly staid and conservative. Alfredo goes from a door-to- door salesman to a gifted auteur (a la Ingmar Bergman). While their respective transformations are vaguely amusing, they are not plausible.

What we are left with in Torremolinos 73 is a mediocre comedy that loses its way halfway through the film. The setup would seem to open the door to countless complications, issues, and pratfalls, yet director Pablo Berger chooses to gloss over this and allow Torremolinos 73 becomes less of a comedy and more of a dramedy. It is the unevenness of Torremolinos 73 that prevents it from being anything other than a mediocre film.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars