The Half of the World

It's hard to pull off a picaresque tale that tilts into tragedy.

With:
With: Luisa Huertas, Hansel Ramirez, Susana Salazar, Ignacio Guadalupe, Paulina Gaitan, Lumi Cavazos, Fernando Becerril, Raul Adalid, Ana Karina Guevara, Isaura Espinoza.

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.

The Half of the World

Mexico

Production: An UNAM/CUEC/Foprocine/Imcine presentation. (International sales: Imcine, Mexico City.) Produced by Armando Casas. Executive producers, Erika Avila. Directed, written by Jaime Ruiz Ibanez.

Crew: Camera (color), Alejandro Ramirez; editor, Victor Velazquez; music, Armando Rosas; production designer, Lola Ovando; costume designer, Josefina Echeverria. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, May 30, 2010. (In Hola Mexico, Morelia film festivals.) Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Luisa Huertas, Hansel Ramirez, Susana Salazar, Ignacio Guadalupe, Paulina Gaitan, Lumi Cavazos, Fernando Becerril, Raul Adalid, Ana Karina Guevara, Isaura Espinoza.

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