Un Padre No Tan Padre, B-
Rated PG-13, 94 minutes
In Spanish with English subtitles
The charming, familiar new Mexican comedy "Un Padre No Tan Padre" pulls few surprises and is as predictably enjoyable as a warm family meal, but it also nicely shows how family can come in many different forms.
"Un Padre" follows crusty 90-year old Don Servando Villegas (Héctor Bonilla) an old fashioned Mexican patriarch who gets kicked out of his retirement home for bad behavior. When his estranged son, Francisco (Benny Ibarra de Llano) is forced to take him into the house full of hippies he shares with his longtime girlfriend Mirtala (Zamia Fandino) and young artist son Rene (Sergio Mayer Mori). "New age" collides with old age as Don Servando and his son Francisco experience a series of conflicts and situations that puts their home's stability in jeopardy.
"Un Padre No Tan Padre" is directed by Raul Martinez with a script by Alberto Bremer is a funny, heartwarming and hardly revelatory look at familial relationships. The setup is an easy, familiar one that seems to be played right out of the TV situational comedy playbook: crusty old school man must live with his hippie son shared with many different types: a gay couple, a British man, the stoner and his sister, an American spinster, and a young songwriter and his girlfriend.
This fish-out-of-water routine is as old as the man himself, but it's also a charming one, and well-acted by Bonilla and Ibarra, who make for a touching father-and-son, and realizing they're much more alike than different. Don Servando learns about love, life and and the real meaning of family, as he ends up changing so much he eats quinoa, counsels the gay couple, helps the stoner and encourages his grandson to go to art school, among many other things, which include consuming one too many pot brownies.
"Un Padre" has its cliches and an uneven tone, starting as a broad comedy, then its fish-out-of-water episodes before turning serious in the last act. The climax seems a tad rushed and overly predictable, but that doesn't mean you won't shed a few tears, both happy and sad, for many of its characters, especially Don Servando, who's really a softie at heart (Bonilla can growl with the best of them, though). Bonera's script leans toward being in an unrealistic happy place and a pat ending where everyone gets along and is accepted, though we know in the real world that doesn't often happen.
Still, with its flaws, "Un Padre No Tan Padre" will win you over its charm and appeal, and there's no denying that you won't leave with a smile on your face, which is exactly what Don Servando would want.