EXTRATERRESTRIAL

PrintE-mail Written by Paul Mount

DVD REVIEW: EXTRATERRESTRIAL / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: NACHO VIGALONDO / SCREENPLAY: NACHO VIGALONDO / STARRING: MICHELLE JENNER, CARLOS ARECES, JULIÁN VILLAGRÁN, RAUL CIMAS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

The cover blurb for Nacho Vigalondo’s 2011 Spanish-language alien invasion rom-com describes it as “the funniest movie of the decade.” We’re not entirely sure which decade, of course; perhaps it’s the 1760s. Extraterrestrial may be many, many things but, unless your sense of humour is extremely rarefied, it ain’t “the funniest movie” of this or any other decade.

The set-up’s actually got a lot of promise. After an apparently boozy evening, Julio (Villagreán) wakes up in a swanky apartment in Madrid with an attractive girl he can’t remember meeting, much less… well, doing anything else with. Julia (Jenner) is keen to get Julio out of her apartment and, it seems, her life; but before he can make his excuses and leave the pair notice that the city is remarkably quiet and the streets are deserted. Then they clock the huge Independence Day-style spaceship parked above the city and suddenly post-one night stand awkwardness is the least of their problems…

The alien invasion scenario is, in fact, a largely irrelevant backdrop to a very simple and occasionally quite sweet love story. Julia’s lumbering husband Carlos (Cimas) arrives on the scene and creepy neighbour Angel (Areces), who clearly has a soft spot for Julia himself, realises that Julia and Julio are starting to become genuinely attracted to one another and decides that it’s time Carlos found out the truth about his wife.

That’s about your lot for Extraterrestrial. Any humour is wry rather than laugh out loud funny, derived from the quirky love triangle (potentially a rectangle) melodramatically played out against the alien invasion plot device. Julio and Julia are more concerned with their own budding relationship and the web of lies they weave than the fact that the city’s been evacuated and the human race might be facing extermination from nameless, unseen alien invaders.

Extraterrestrial’s really not much ado about not much. It’s inoffensive, occasionally charming and its conceit in relegating its alien invasion to little more than a subplot is cheeky and audacious even if it might irritate an audience who are expecting something a little more high-concept and a little less Richard Curtis.


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