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  Two Sides of the Bed, The Bed-hopping in Barcelona
Year: 2005
Director: Emilio Martínez Lázaro
Stars: Ernesto Alterio, Verónica Sánchez, Guillermo Toledo, Lucía Jiménez, Alberto San Juan, María Esteve, Pilar Castro, Juana Acosta
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Sex, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A follow-up to the Spanish hit, The Other Side of the Bed (2002), this buoyant, musical sex farce takes a lighthearted look at sexuality and gender politics, with some toe-tapping tunes along the way. Crazy-haired Pedro (Guillermo Toledo) is dating sultry nightclub chanteuse Raquel (Lucía Jiménez), while their best friends Javier (Ernesto Alterio) and Marta (Verónica Sánchez) are about to be married. Both guys are feeling pretty smug, little suspecting that their gorgeous girlfriends are having hot lesbian sex in the ladies washroom, followed by a giddily delightful, Stanley Donen-esque musical number amidst a friend’s hen night.

Meanwhile, mucho macho, yet hopelessly henpecked Rafa (Alberto San Juan) has no idea his fiancé Pilar (María Esteve) is enjoying a fling with his buddy, Carlos (Secun de la Rosa). Mainly because fat, curly-haired Carlos is routinely the butt of Rafa’s jokes about being a dateless loser. Pilar and Carlos celebrate their joyous romance with a jaunty song and dance across the roofs of several sports cars. When Marta leaves Javier standing alone outside the church, he immediately suspects her of having an affair with Pedro and tries to seduce Raquel as recompense.

Deeply in love, Marta and Raquel begin a new life together but, not wanting to hurt the guys’ feelings, keep their relationship secret until Javier walks in on them sharing a bubble bath. The anguished quartet sing out their drama amidst an aerobics class, with everyone looking on. Hurt and confused, Javier moves in with Pedro. It isn’t long before they’re squabbling over tipsy Carlota (Pilar Castro), who tries to solve their sexual dilemma by suggesting a threesome.

Poking gentle fun at Latin machismo, this lacks the incisive wit of Pedro Almodóvar, but proves a beguiling comic romp with dance sequences as well choreographed and beautifully lit as any Jacques Demy movie. The musical numbers are soulful and uplifting, which include in addition to those mentioned above, Pedro’s hilarious country & western-themed lesbian truck driver fantasy and a smoky, electro-jazz number as he and Javier awkwardly negotiate a threesome with Carlota. The talented cast perform their songs with real aplomb (and return to sing their hearts out over the end titles), with the alluring María Esteve and Lucía Jimenez proving able replacements for previous co-stars Paz Vega and Natalia Verbeke. Gags fly thick and fast thanks to the physical comedy gifts of its leading actors, but the highlights are undoubtedly Rafa’s wonderfully self-deluded monologues (“A lone wolf howls at the moon because… well, no one knows. But he does it!”). And watch out for that talking fox.

While the subtext, that homoerotic rivalry can easily tip over into outright homosexuality, is amusing, it arrives at the expense of the warm, loving relationship shared between the women. Surrounded by cynicism and self-delusion, Marta and Raquel’s love story provides much-needed heart, yet is disappointingly fizzles out to maintain the semi-hetero status quo. The conclusion strains to provide a happy ending for everyone, but winds up on an abrupt, ambiguous note that puts several romantic futures in doubt. We need another follow-up to tell the rest of the story. In the meantime, for anyone who thinks a Stanley Donen musical would benefit from some hot girl-on-girl action, this is the movie for you.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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