Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez's fan-boy directors club has a new member in Nicolas Lopez, whose "Below Average" regurgitates seemingly everything he's absorbed from American movies in his 20-some years. While pic was Chile's 2004 B.O. king, its success likely won't transfer to El Norte.

Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez’s fan-boy directors club has a new member in Nicolas Lopez, whose “Below Average” tiresomely regurgitates seemingly everything he’s absorbed from American movies in his 20-some years. Lopez even names his plump, nerdy and hopelessly unappealing high school alter-ego Roberto Rodriguez (Ariel Levy). Routine plot is John Hughes by way of the Farrelly brothers, and while pic was Chile’s 2004 B.O. king, its success likely won’t transfer to El Norte.

Punchy opening sequence –amusingly decorated with Nelson Daniel’s graphic comic design –establishes Roberto as the butt of jokes by everyone in school except slow-witted buddy Papitas (Sebastian “Berta” Muniz) and annoying sidekick Condoro (Nicolas Martinez). When Spanish lass Cristina (Xenia Tostado) enters his classroom, Roberto is entranced, and he spends the rest of the pic trying to get her in bed against all odds. In his dreams, he becomes a superhero called “The Strange Obesity of Being” and battles tough guys for her. Original title refers to poor school grades denoted in red.

Below Average

Chile-Spain

Production

A Sobras Prods., Aldea Films, Amiguetes Entertainment S.L. presentation. (International sales: Sobras Prods., Santiago, Chile.) Produced by Miguel Asensio. Executive producers, Nicolas Lopez, Santiago Segura, Javier Valino. Directed, written by Nicolas Lopez.

Crew

Camera (color), Chechu Graf; editor, Diego Macho; music, Manuel Riveiro; production designer, Miguel Asensio; art director, Nelson Daniel; set decorators, Soledad Morales, Matias O'Donnell; costume designer, Constanza Meza-Lopehandia. Reviewed at Los Angeles Film Festival (Dark Wave), June 23, 2005. (Also in South by Southwest Film Festival.) Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Ariel Levy, Xenia Tostado, Benjamin Vicuna, Nicolas Martinez, Fernando Farias, Sebastian "Berta" Muniz.

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