First-time director Antonio Cuadri's romantic fable turns Cinderella-story cliches on their heads. Trapped in a dead end job as a Madrid bus driver, Martin (Carmelo Gomez) opts for a one-way trip off a high bridge. Before he can leap, an underworld fairy godfather named Salva (Tito Valverde) offers Martin the deal of a lifetime. Claiming to represent syndicate interests with a unique approach to money-laundering, Salva offers Martin the opportunity to blow $100,000,000 in a week. After that, a mob hit man will save Martin the trouble of killing himself. With nothing to lose but a life he no longer values, Martin accepts and, as the clock ticks away, enjoys wine, women and song. Then love steps in: Martin has a run-in with Lola (Salma Hayek), a cynical maid, and falls in head over heels. He courts Lola lavishly, even planting a field of roses outside her window in her barren neighborhood, but hard-to-get Lola regards Martin as just another rich parasite to whom she's supposed to defer. Salva, who's keeping an eye on Martin from the sidelines, regards Lola as a monkey wrench in his financial operation. When pay-up time arrives, Martin — who now has every reason to live — tries to locate the mobsters and broker a deal to pay them back. He doesn't realize that Lola may be humoring him because her sister is in the hospital, racking up huge bills. And the eccentric Salva hasn't been forthcoming about certain aspects of his bizarre arrangement with Martin, either. As Martin's illusions erode Lola's pragmatism, can he find a way to wriggle out of his deal with the devil? The engaging cast keeps this airy trifle light on its feet. Even when screenwriters Carlos Asorey Bley and Fernando Leon de Aranoa get tangled up in their own convoluted inventions, the cast negotiates the wilder plot turns gracefully and make us believe in fiscally irresponsible happy endings.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: R
- Review: First-time director Antonio Cuadri's romantic fable turns Cinderella-story cliches on their heads. Trapped in a dead end job as a Madrid bus driver, Martin (Carmelo Gomez) opts for a one-way trip off a high bridge. Before he can leap, an underworld fairy g… (more)