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Yucatan

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Yucatan Movie Poster Image
Spanish comedy about con men has language, violence.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 129 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

"Living with money means really living." You can die at any moment, so the best thing to do is live your life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A group of con men are smart and wily but dishonest. A man who seems to be gullible is, in fact, wise.

Violence

A team of masked men pretend to execute someone with a chain saw. Screams are heard. Fake bloody severed limbs are seen. Masks are covered with blood spatter. Three men are hung upside down from their feet. As part of a con, a fake Russian roulette game is set up with men shooting supposedly-loaded guns at their own heads. In some cases, fake blood is seen exploding from skulls. A man asks criminals he knows to kidnap him so he can "pay" them ransom money and get rid of his wealth without making his children angry. A man breaks his own nose to gain sympathy. He drives a bus recklessly. Because of deliberate food poisoning a man passes a lot of gas and gets sick. A terminal illness is revealed.

Sex

A woman receiving a massage moans as if she is having sex. A gay man who has married a straight woman as part of a scam is worried about the wedding night.

 

Language

"F--k," "mother--ker," "s—t," "screw," "bastard," "balls," "goddamn," "crap," "f-ggot," and "scumbag."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke tobacco and drink alcohol.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Yucatan is a Spanish comedy (with English subtitles) about several competing scam artists working a cruise ship to target unsuspecting wealthy passengers, and creating elaborate ruses to part them from their money. Staged events that include dramatized but fake violence feature bloody chainsaw attacks, played for comedy. As part of a con, a fake Russian roulette game is set up with men shooting supposedly-loaded guns at their own heads. A gay man worries about having to have sex with a straight woman he's married for money. Adults smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, and language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "f-ggot."

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What's the story?

In YUCATAN, cruise ship pianist Clayderman (Rodrigo De la Serna) and his paramour singer and dancer Veronica (Stephanie Cayo) make a nice living creating admirably crafty and intricate schemes to charmingly defraud wealthy vacationing passengers. On this particular voyage, they spot several worthy options, including Antonio (Joan Pero), a humble baker who just won 160 million Euros in the lottery. It's bad enough that Antonio's leaching sons-in-law are panting in anticipation of inheriting after the old guy dies. But they are no match for Clayderman and his crew. Clayderman's old partner-in-crime, and Veronica's ex, Lucas (Luis Tosar), shows up on board as a rival for the loot, masquerading as a grieving widower with a dying child, working to gain Antonio's sympathy and a major donation. These warring factions create situations that include a spur-of-the moment wedding between Antonio's youngest daughter, Leticia (Alicia Fernandez), and a gay dancer in Veronica's floor show, several kidnappings, mock violence featuring chain saws and fake severed limbs, and a budding romance between Antonio and a middle-aged woman who isn't what she seems. Antonio, sniffing out the various frauds and disgusted by what money does to people, vows to divest himself of the money that seems to be causing so many problems. He enlists Clayderman, Lucas, and their teams to achieve that goal without letting his daughters and sons-in-law know. The story begins with the advisory that lottery winners and their winnings are cursed. The ending confirms that premise.
 

Is it any good?

This movie is fun and inventive, sharing much in common with Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsThe Lady Eve, Fargo, and The Sting, other successful con-game comedies. Language and especially the violence, even the mock kind, make this more appropriate for teens, who may enjoy the crude language and frenetic comic acting designed to underscore the many personal and business conflicts that arise among the frustrated criminals whose multiple plans are repeatedly thwarted. At timesYucatan explodes into cartoonish exaggeration, but fans of such over-the-top fare will probably be amused.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how scam artists have to be students of human nature in order to be successful at their work. In what ways does Yucatan show how human failings, like greed, jealousy, and envy, make people easy marks for financial predators?

  • Did you root for the criminals or the victims? Why?

  • How does the movie take sides? What do the filmmakers do to make the criminals seem more charming and intelligent than most of their victims?

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

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