Review: ‘Clams and Mussels’

Energetic perfs from a high-profile cast and a pleasantly bubbly style are not enough to redeem camp comedy "Clams and Mussels" from a distinctly fishy script. Parade of oh-so-outrageous gay stereotypes combine with an old-hat plotline to create a product that is occasionally jaw-droppingly offensive. Foreign legs look weak, but energetic marketing by distrib Buena Vista made the film a surprise success in its first week, opening Oct. 27.

Energetic perfs from a high-profile cast and a pleasantly bubbly style are not enough to redeem camp comedy “Clams and Mussels” from a distinctly fishy script. Parade of oh-so-outrageous gay stereotypes combine with an old-hat plotline to create a product that is occasionally jaw-droppingly offensive. Foreign legs look weak, but energetic marketing by distrib Buena Vista made the film a surprise success in its first week, opening Oct. 27.

Divorced Rolondo (Jorge Sanz) arrives in Tenerife to research the sex lives of mussels. He moves in with lesbian Paola (Argentinean star Leticia Bredice), who is about to break up with her g.f., Inma (Silke, whose promising career has since declined into a series of dodgy cameos). Fancied by gay Fredy (Antonio Gasalla), Rolondo eventually falls for Paola and decides he’ll become a transvestite to win her heart. Sanz’s perf is straight from the how-to comedy handbook, but Bredice at least tries to make the role her own. Script veers between the ploddingly literal and jaded double entendres. Canary Islands landscapes are stunningly shot by d.p. Alfredo Mayo.

Clams and Mussels

Spain-Argentina

Production

A Buena Vista Intl. Spain release of an Alma Ata Intl. Pictures (Spain)/Millecento Cinema, Patagonik Film Group (Argentina) production, in association with Antena 3 and Via Digital. (International sales: Buena Vista Intl., Madrid.) Produced by Jose Maria Calleja, Javier Vasallo. Directed by Marcos Carnevale. Screenplay, Lito Espinosa.

Crew

Camera (color), Alfredo Mayo; editor, Jorge Valencia; music, Paco Musulen, Luis Elices. Reviewed at Palacio de la Musica, Madrid, Oct. 30, 2000. Original title: Almejas y mejillones. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Jorge Sanz, Leticia Bredice, Antonio Gasalla, Loles Leon, Silke.

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