A sweet-minded if ludicrous tall tale, about the sexual transformation of a young man with special needs, switches tone and detonates its goodwill in Jaime Ruiz Ibanez’s “The Half of the World.” It’s hard to pull off a picaresque tale that tilts into tragedy, but that’s the design here, further harmed by making the audience root for an off-putting faux-naif. Though the titular location is commonly associated with Quito, Ecuador, the Mexican pic’s fest and theatrical ventures aren’t likely to extend that far.
Mingo (Hansel Ramirez, overacting) is teased around his small town for being “slow,” and he appears stuck with the job of making deliveries for his mom’s (Luisa Huertas) modest chicken business. Wealthy, randy customer Cata (Susana Salazar) discovers that Mingo is extremely well endowed (left to the imagination), and soon turns him into her stud and the object of desire by the town’s undersexed women. Jealousies among the local men come to a boil, but they hardly prepare the viewer for the savage third-act turn, which is over the top by any measure.