"Queens" – royally clever


Sept. 6, 2006, midnight | By Cassie Cummins | 14 years, 4 months ago

The smartest wedding comedy yet!


In every movie with a wedding, there of course must also be havoc — wreaked by weird in-laws or inconvenient love affairs. But this time, "Queens" adds to all the typical hubbub, by throwing sexuality into the mix. It is the first gay wedding, en masse, to take place in Spain, a very Catholic country that only recently recognized gay marriage. The result is a hilarious, if sometimes unclear tangle of human relationships.

Director Manuel Gomez Pereira's newest Latin film (in Spanish, with English subtitles) chronicles the days leading up to Spain's first mass civil marriage ceremony. He focuses in on the lives of the mothers whose sons are to be married — a scenario that causes drama even more unusual than that which occurs in your standard wedding comedy.

The movie follows five very different, yet all very opinionated mothers and their sons, whose unlikely paths cross in one amusing vignette after another. While confusing at times (the subtitles and flashbacks certainly don't help), the elaborate plot lines are clever, engaging, and of course, entertaining. One such storyline is that of Nuria (Veronica Forque), a mother and nymphomaniac, who finds herself having uncontrollable flings with strangers leading up to the big day. One is with her soon-to-be son in law, Hugo (Gustavo Salmeron). Relationships don't get any more entertaining than that.

Perhaps a little more believable is the relationship between Ofelia (Betiana Blum) and her son's fiancé, Miguel (Unax Ugalde). Blum wonderfully portrays your typical irritating yet sweet mother-in-law, who has nowhere else to stay for the wedding but with her son, making it impossible for the couple to have any privacy.

Turning such an intricate web of plots into a hilarious work of art is not easy and requires a strong cast to make it understandable. Despite the fact that there is no individual protagonist to follow through the movie, each actor evolves into his or her character making it easy to differentiate among the large cast.

Like in most marriage movies, it seems as though the whole wedding will be disastrously broken up before it ever even begins. But "Queens" has one thing going for it that you won't find in movies like "My Best Friend's Wedding" or "The Wedding Date": homosexuality. Pereira manages to weave every possible opinion about gay marriage into the movie, which gives it some substance. Take Helena (Mercedes Sampiepro), esteemed judge and mother to Hugo, who must reluctantly step in to perform the civil ceremony herself, despite being the mother who is most uncomfortable with her son's sexuality and homosexuality in general. Yes, it is another classic tale teaching the lesson of acceptance — acceptance of one's in-laws, of one's partner, and of oneself. But that isn't easy to do considering these circumstances. While "Queens" may have more difficult obstacles for its characters to overcome than, say, those of your average wedding comedy, the obstacles and subsequent events unfold in a much more graceful and witty way.

In short, if marriage movies could be crowned, this one would be queen.

"Queens" (107 minute),in Spanish with English sub-titles, is rated R for sexual content and some nudity, and is playing at Landmark's E. Street Cinema.




Cassie Cummins. Cassie Cummins is an 11th grade CAP student whose life is made complete with a hot cup of coffee and a long nap- preferably with Abe Lincoln by her side. When she's not doing homework or pining over her loss of sleep, she enjoys watching … More »

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