Queens

If all comedies end in a wedding, then Manuel Gomez Pereira's antic farce is 20 comedies in one: It ends with Spain's first legal gay marriage, a mass ceremony in Madrid for 40 beaming grooms. But before that happy moment, there's a big ball of secrets, lies and drama-queen histrionics — most, but not all, courtesy of the high-maintenance mothers of...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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If all comedies end in a wedding, then Manuel Gomez Pereira's antic farce is 20 comedies in one: It ends with Spain's first legal gay marriage, a mass ceremony in Madrid for 40 beaming grooms. But before that happy moment, there's a big ball of secrets, lies and drama-queen histrionics — most, but not all, courtesy of the high-maintenance mothers of the grooms-to-be — that needs untangling. Nymphomaniac Nuria Zambrano (Veronica Forque) is en route to see her son, rising politician Narciso (Paco Leon), marry high-strung Hugo (Gustavo Salmeron), and her ill-advised quickie with a stranger on a train from the airport is about to come back to haunt her. Hugo's parents are divorced and barely speak; his police detective father (Fernando Valverde) is supportive, but his homophobic mom, Helena (Mercedes Sampietro), a judge, intends to boycott the wedding when she's forced to preside over it. Dragon lady Magda (Carmen Maura) runs the flagship hotel of the gay-friendly Mayerling chain and is cuckolding her husband with Cuban head cook Cesar (Jorge Perugorria), who's about to lead his coworkers on a strike. Magda's son, platinum-blond designer Miguel (Unax Ugalde), is marrying hunky Argentine gym instructor Oscar (Daniel Hendler). Oscar's mother, iron butterfly Ofelia (Betiana Blum), has just made the long trip from Buenos Aires with her unruly sheepdog, Marilena (who promptly urinates on Miguel's antique rug), and plans to stay for three months rather than the one week she'd told Oscar. Fabulously wealthy actress Reyes (Marisa Paredes) adores her plain, insecure son Rafa (Raul Jimenez) but wishes he weren't marrying handsome, hardworking overachiever Jonas (Hugo Silva) — not that Jonas isn't a catch, but he's the son of her communist gardener, Jacinto (Lluis Homar), a common laborer. The complications multiply exponentially as the parents and the grooms-to-be celebrate, bicker and uncover each other's secrets. Pereira's artfully fragmented screenplay hopscotches back and forth in time over the weekend leading up to the mass marriage, during which unexpected affairs upset the order of things and Marilena, whom Miguel loses accidentally on purpose, bounds in and out of the various families' stories, eventually bringing them together for a rousing tribute to the power of love for making people act like idiots. For all its contrivances, the film is cheerfully rude and surprisingly generous to the mothers, most of whom find sizzling new romances at an age when their American counterparts are reduced to sexless dithering or played as humiliating punch lines to jokes about horny old hags.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: R
  • Review: If all comedies end in a wedding, then Manuel Gomez Pereira's antic farce is 20 comedies in one: It ends with Spain's first legal gay marriage, a mass ceremony in Madrid for 40 beaming grooms. But before that happy moment, there's a big ball of secrets, li… (more)

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