Fans will do some nutty things for the bands they love, but Fernando Kalife’s “7 Days” is best read as an unintended cautionary tale about what can happen when fans go over the cliff. That’s pretty much what Kalife’s ludicrous hero and erstwhile U2 concert promoter Claudio does in a film that has no sense of its own ridiculousness. A kind of O. Henry tale pitched to younger Mexican viewers, pic is just now opening in Stateside theaters after a 2005 local release, and looks unlikely to build its own fan base before a quiet vid bow.
Based in Monterrey, Mexico, wet-behind-the-ears entrepreneur Claudio (Eduardo Arroyuelo) battles the odds, the Mob, the music biz and his own better judgment, but he’s an absurdly drawn character in a script tyro writer-helmer Kalife initially drew up as a grad student at USC.
Driven to surpass his late brother, once northern Mexico’s top concert promoter, Claudio has the idiotic idea of having partner Gloria (Martha Higareda) withdraw a ton of cash from her family’s account to place a fat bet on the Mexican national soccer championship.
It gets worse. Naturally, Claudio’s team loses, and soon some Mafia dudes are ready to stuff his head full of lead. Assured death is delayed, however, when Claudio utters the magic term, “U2” — which just so happens to be gangster Tony’s (Jaime Camil) fave band.
Clearly the nicest bunch of mafiosos in the world, the bad guys give Claudio seven days to come up with his shortfall — by fulfilling his dream of bringing U2 to Monterrey’s biggest arena.
“7 Days” proceeds like an overheated fantasy fueled by perhaps too much daily viewing of CNBC. Several serendipitous encounters lead Claudio in the right direction to put in a bid with the band, while Tony turns out to be just a cuddly puppy dog under the hot lead-‘n’-leather exterior.
Slipshod direction, acting, cinematography and editing stand in contrast to recent works of Mexican cinema. In one respect, though, the pic works as an intriguing portrait of a younger generation turning its back on outmoded cultural traditions, aggressively chasing what might be termed “the Mexican dream.” There’s a fine film to mined from such ideas, but “7 Days” isn’t it.