Directors: Dominic Harari, Teresa Pelegri
Stars: Marián Aguilera, Guillermo Toledo, Norma Aleandro
*** (out of five)
Only Human is an elaborate Spanish farce about a young woman who brings her new fiancée home to meet her family. There’s just one small catch: they’re Jewish, and he’s Palestinian.
If you’ve been wondering how Meet The Parents would play with a dose of powderkeg politics, well, this is the movie for you. The writer-director team of Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri have slapped together a cheerful cast of manic eccentrics — the long-suffering matriarch (Norma Aleandro), the senile, gun-toting grandfather (Max Berliner), the nymphomaniacal sister (Maria Botto) and the newly observant younger brother (Fernando Romallo) who’s forcing his rediscovered faith on everyone else in the house — and set them in motion, in one small apartment, against journalist daughter Leni (Marián Aguilera) and her affable if extremely nervous fiancé Rafi (Ferpect Crime’s Guillermo Toledo).
The only person absent from the goings-on is Leni’s father (Mario Martín), but he might have a very good reason: Rafi accidentally dropped a large chunk of frozen soup out the apartment window, and he might well be the guy with whom it connected seven stories below. (Rafi didn’t see his victim’s face, but it’s one more thing for him to panic about.)
Much frenzied yelling and running about ensues, as Harari and Pelegri quickly abandon their Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner model for a catalogue of random weirdness: the sister’s a belly dancer, the brother is keeping a duckling in the family bidet, the grandfather has a habit of waving a loaded rifle around, and so on. It’s all so insistently wacky that it becomes exhausting rather than enjoyable, really. But at least they have each other.