An offbeat comedy about a vacationing city slicker who tries to take possession of an abandoned hotel resort in the boondocks, “Sweet Repose” extracts some shards of original humor from the weirdoes and slackers who latch onto the project. However, pic’s rather juvenile approach reins in the well-drawn plot and would-be social criticism. This feature debut by film-school buddies and shorts co-directors Rodrigo Moreno, Andres Tambornino and Ulises Rosell may have enough curiosity value to wend its way to other fests.
On holiday with his fuss-budget pal Osvaldito (Fernando Miasnik), brash wheeler-dealer Freddy Fassano (Juan Ignacio Machado) crashes the car in the middle of nowhere. They end up in a dusty burg run by a pompous lawyer, Dr. McDonnell (Raul Urtizberea). When Freddy stumbles on the secluded, run-down El Descanso hotel, whose owner died without heirs, his hippy-capitalist imagination turns it into his own private Overlook.
The bored townsfolk are only too happy to freeload as they help him refurbish the place with a view to reopening it at the end of summer. A swinging lawyer pal of Freddy’s flies his Cessna in from Buenos Aires with two Russian babes, and it’s party time for everyone, except wet blanket Osvaldito. After their archenemy McDonnell calls the police to evict the squatters, Freddy suspects he’s vying for the property himself and sets on the trail of the legal owner. Ending is cynically realistic.
The young trio of directors helm with flair and exuberance, marshaling a lot of energy from a mixed bag of thesps, accompanied by Ervin Stutz and Alejo Van Der Palhen’s lively score. However, the stately old thermal bath hotel is the strongest presence: Sill emanating a ’30s lost glamour, it hides a mystery that gives film a nice final twist.