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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Examines aspects of toxic masculinity, ultimately saying that men have feelings, can provide support and love to other men, should admit when they need help, and must learn to solve their problems by talking rather than reacting.
Positive Role Models
Jero is a very positive person who treats others kindly, even though he's a serial womanizer and is living off borrowed money. Tomás is hurting from his wife's infidelity and reacts violently -- and from a place of instability. He's also struggling with his own self-worth due to unemployment. Marcia says that she had an affair because her husband wasn't giving her the love and attention she needed.
Spanish-language film set in Mexico, starring Mexican actors. References to being gay and a lot of "macho" behavior. Countering stereotypes, men talk about having a broken heart and needing therapy.
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Violence & Scariness
Tomás envisions a series of violent murders involving poison, a taser, guns, knives, explosions, and more. He buys a taser from an illicit weapons shop and vandalizes and sets a car on fire. Two assassins chase two other men, threatening them repeatedly. Two characters suffer gunshot wounds and one a knife wound. Car chases and car crashes; one sends the victims to a hospital.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion of affairs, cheating, who has a "bigger Johnson," sexual identity, erotic asphyxiation. A man asks a woman whether she's "naughty," then takes his friend to a brothel (he's shown dancing with his pants down). The friend asks a sex worker to just listen to his problems, which she says costs more than sex, or knock him out and either make it look like they've had sex or just have her way with him if she wants. A man describes his "dating techniques."
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Strong language includes "s--t," "damn," "goddamn," "ass," "a--hole," "hell," "bitch," "bastard," "sucks," "f-g," "screw," "jerk," 'idiot," "Johnson," "balls." "God" used as exclamation. The film was reviewed in its original Spanish with English subtitles.
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Products & Purchases
YouTube, Uber. A man is living the high life on borrowed money.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink significant amounts of alcohol, often straight out of the bottle. Two characters are drunk in one scene. One asks for tequila while driving, says he does it all the time. Another is given a sedative and stumbles around a hospital clinic.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Spanish-language buddy comedy Y Cómo Es Él? (Backseat Driver) is a remake of a South Korean film and was produced by popular Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez. It has dark humor, strong language, and sexual content. One man plans to murder another who's having an affair with his wife, and the first man envisions increasingly violent ways to kill his rival (taser, guns, knives, explosions, poison, and more). He also vandalizes and sets the other man's car on fire. But ultimately he's too good (or too scared) to hurt the man, and the two become friends, learning a lot from each other about forgiveness and self-care along the way. They also deal with shootings, a stabbing, car chases and crashes, and more. They visit a brothel and discuss affairs, cheating, dating, who has a "bigger Johnson," sexual identity, and erotic asphyxiation. They drink heavily, getting visibly drunk in at least one scene. Language in English subtitles (which aren't entirely faithful to the original Spanish) includes "s--t," "goddamn," "a--hole," "hell," "bitch," "bastard," "f-g," "God" as an exclamation, and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This funny albeit uneven Mexican comedy is a buddy road movie that has some not-so-subtle messages about toxic masculinity. Frantic with jealousy, Tomás imagines myriad ways to kill his wife's lover in Y Cómo Es Él?, each more violent than the last. But he's slowly worn down by Jero's positivity and his own basic goodness. The pair have some funny moments and one-liners, mostly involving down-and-out Tomás' many misfortunes (he doesn't exactly "radiate success and prosperity," Jero notes, and he can't grow a beard), which are contrasted with Jero's apparent surplus of wealth and charm. But things aren't always what they seem, which viewers realize as the curtain is pulled back gradually on Jero's financial problems, his "low-budget Romeo" act, and his cheap pickup lines that are specially crafted for each decade of a woman's life.
Here, two men critiqued as "macho" are forced to confront their own vulnerabilities, discovering in each other an unlikely companion for their journey. A scene in which the two drunkenly role-play a confrontation between Tomás and his wife is hilarious, capitalizing on the chemistry between the two popular actors. The film teases a possible attraction between them, a cliché that's problematic but at least done here with a wink and a nod. The subtext is that it's actually healthy for a man to cuddle his best friend, tell him he loves him, forgive a woman for cheating, and/or see a therapist. Of course, that progressive message is offset in other ways, like Jero's familiarity with a brothel or Tomás' Cheshire cat grin when he sneaks a peek at Jero's privates. The film has some technical shortcomings, including clumsy edits, a great soundtrack undermined by splices of heavy-handed original music, and an overly simplistic assassin subplot. But joining the stars on their road trip ultimately proves to be a surprisingly entertaining adventure.
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