Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh

Banned for many years in director/cowriter Alfonso Cuaron's native Mexico, his debut feature is a bawdy comedy that pivots on the comeuppance of serial philanderer Tomas Tomas (Daniel Gimenez Cacho). Tomas is juggling so many women he can barely keep their names straight, which doesn't stop him from adding more to his string at every opportunity. He loves the rush that comes from getting away with things, hence his morning ritual of doffing his bathrobe and sprinting downstairs to pick up the newspaper in the lobby and rush back up without being seen. And double- and triple-timing women without getting called to the carpet — well, that's heady stuff indeed. But Tomas finally goes too far. While paying a routine visit to his friend and doctor, Mateo Mateos (Luis de Icaza) — who, with his wife, Teresa (Astrid Hadad), also lives down the hall — Tomas is smitten by Mateo's new nurse, Sylvia Silva (Dobrina Liubomirova). He turns on the charm and invites her to meet him at his apartment later that evening. Unfortunately, Tomas' boss, Gloria Gold (Isabel Benet), chooses that very evening to announce she's on her way over to talk to Tomas about the advertising slogan he's been promising her for days — and he'd better have some besitos for her as well. Fortunately, Mateo and Teresa are away at a medical conference and Tomas has their keys, so he stashes Gloria in their bed, Sylvia in his own, and spends the night shuttling back and forth between the two, using the parapet that connects their bathroom windows. Lecher that Tomas is, he can't help but notice the new neighbor in the apartment in between, luminous stewardess Clarisa (Claudia Ramirez). She lives with her fiance, Carlos (Ricardo Dalmacci), but in Tomas' book that's nothing more than an inconvenient detail. Sylvia, however, gets wind that she's been played for a fool and decides to teach Tomas a lesson: She doctors his test-results sheet to indicate that he has AIDS, precipitating a series of darkly comic misunderstandings. Cuaron, who cowrote the screenplay with his brother, Carlos, cited Ernst Lubitsch and Woody Allen as influences, but the shadow of Pedro Almodovar's frantic early comedies hangs heavily over the film's farcical complications. Though Cuaron handles them with remarkable assurance, the film was only released in the U.S. after he achieved international success with films like Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (2001) and HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004). (In Spanish, with subtitles.)