“¿Y Cómo Es Él?”, a Mexican love-triangle comedy by the Argentine director Ariel Winograd, translates to “And What’s He Like?”
“He,” we find out immediately, is Jero (Omar Chaparro), a taxi driver and businessman, who is the lover of Marcia (Zuria Vega), who is married to Tomás (Mauricio Ochmann).
The film opens with Tomás, our edgy protagonist, scrutinizing pictures of a dashing hunk while on a flight to Puerto Vallarta.
Tómas, unemployed, jealous and insecure, tells Marcia he’s traveling for a job interview. He’s actually on his way to kick Jero’s butt — or tase him, or blow him to pieces with a machine gun. These violent fantasies play out in comic bursts, but when faced with the opportunity to exact revenge, Tómas gets cold feet. Then, he accidentally stabs himself, passes out, and wakes up in his nemesis’s back seat.
It turns out that Jero is a pretty nice guy — he even offers Tomás a ride back to Mexico City.
Cue the fraught male bonding, which (predictably for this kind of straight guy buddy comedy) includes a trip to a brothel and run-ins with thuggish debt collectors.
The film, a remake of a 2007 Korean film bluntly translated as “Driving With My Wife’s Lover,” will seem retrograde to contemporary viewers. In addition to homophobic quips, the premise relies on the idea that an adulterous wife is the greatest offense to a man’s dignity. As such, it caters to an older, more traditional Latino audience who might still be tickled by such a conceit — and for whom the cast, which includes Chaparro (a prolific comedian and singer), along with several other popular Mexican personalities, will be a draw.
Though Winograd questions the film’s gender biases in the conclusion, he does so unconvincingly. At a quick 95 minutes, at least the whole thing zips by, however brainlessly.
¿Y Cómo Es Él?
Rated PG-13. In Spanish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. In theaters.