Confirming the Mexican public’s preference for light comedies, Fernando Sarinana’s “The Second Wind” has reaped more than 46 million pesos ($5 million) in two months of nationwide exhibition. This broad bedroom farce about a middle-aged teacher who cuckolds her workaholic husband with a student, is played strictly by-the-numbers, with little wit or invention. Like hits such as “Cilantro y Perejil” and “Sex, Shame and Tears,” pic was made for domestic auds and is unlikely to perform as an export title.
“The Second Wind” solidifies Sarinana’s rep as a filmmaker who knows how to please the Mexican middle class with recognizable characters and situations — basically neurotic urban dwellers with work and love problems. (He produced “Cilantro y Perejil” and also directed “Gimme Power,” one of last year’s top earners.)
Script by Carolina Rivera (who co-wrote “Cilantro” and “Gimme Power” and is Sarinana’s wife) focuses on the travails of 40-ish architect Moises (Jesus Ochoa), who ignores wife Julia’s emotional needs while concentrating on a housing development to be built illegally in an ecological reserve. Julia (Lisa Owen) teaches at a private university where she meets Ricardo (Jorge Poza), a handsome but rather dopey Green Leaf activist. Soon they become lovers, arousing Moises’ suspicions.
Moises injures Ricardo while trying to run him down with his car, whereupon Julia convinces him to let the young man recover in their home. Complications ensue as Moises’ development project is endangered by Green Leaf, and corrupt politician Santibanez (Patricio Castillo) becomes involved in getting the project approved.
There’s also a totally irrelevant subplot in which the couple’s teenage daughter, Ximena (Ximena Sarinana, the helmer’s daughter), develops an unrequited crush on Ricardo, and awkward as well are flashbacks to when Moises and Julia were young hippies in love.
As is customary in Mexican comedies, thesps have been encouraged to overact. However, versatile actor Ochoa (recently seen as the heavy in Maria Novaro’s “Without a Trace”) saves the day with a performance that manages to get laughs out of very thin material, even when donning a fright wig for the flashback scenes.
Pic is shot in a functional, impersonal manner. The soundtrack adds zest with classic Perez Prado mambos and many versions of the old standard “Quizas, quizas, quizas” (Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps), which was the original title of the film.