Cuban comedy specialists Daniel Diaz Torres and co-writer Eduardo del Llano pare back their excessive tendencies in “It Happened in Havana” (known in Germany, where pic recently opened, as “Cuba Coup”), but they are never able to create genuine farcical energy in this weak Cuban-Euro culture clash. The melange of class conflicts, mistaken identities, reversed loyalties and male egoism smacks of Francis Veber’s boulevard cinema, but pic lacks attention to the precise mechanics and rhythms of farce. Instead, we get broad, miscalculated nonsense which should play for undemanding Euro and Latin American theatrical and ancillary auds.
Retired, proud ex-cop Amancio (eminent Cuban thesp Enrique Molina) refuses to make money in underhanded ways like the neighbors he looks down upon, but wife Concha (Coralia Veloz) and daughter Alicia (Ketty de la Iglesia) know they need income and lure a visiting Swede named Bjorn (Peter Lohmeyer) to rent out a room. Bjorn, who has a darker though ultimately pointless agenda, unconvincingly poses as a lit professor and all the Havana locals buy it, in a rather insulting depiction of the level of Cuban smarts.