The glossy Mexican rom-com “Todos Caen” wants to have it both ways. It pokes fun at all of the genre’s creaky old tropes and then it expects the audience to “ooh” and “aah” as its characters are forced to engage in them.
But sometimes you can have it all. Well, almost. While not everything works in “Todos Caen” — “Everybody Falls” in English — the film is breezy and engaging, with sharp and snappy dialogue. Most importantly, you want to see the two main characters wind up together.
It helps that Omar Chaparro and Martha Higareda play the leads. Both charismatic actors are heavy hitters with Latin audiences, and they were teamed in the popular “No Manches Frida” films. Here, they have a peppery give-and-take that is quite amusing as you watch them circle each other warily before they (surprise!) start to fall for each other.
Pantelion Films presents a film directed by Ariel Winograd and written by Martha Higareda and Cory Brusseau. Rated PG-13 (for sexual content throughout, some language and nudity). In Spanish with English subtitles. Running time: 120 minutes. Opens Friday at local theaters.
Chaparro is Adán, an architect who never gets his heart broken because he has a set of rules that he follows when it comes to women. He tries to impart his knowledge to his awkward best friend, Toby (Mauricio Barrientos, stealing scenes right and left). Adán also schools the audience as he talks directly to the camera, offering hints that sound like they come from a 1967 Dear Playboy Advisor column.
Mia (Higareda) is a TV producer on a tacky relationship show with dreams of launching a quality one. She, too, talks to the camera, offering her own take on relationships. She’s a cynic, like Adán, and has her own clueless best friend, Margo (Claudia Álvarez) — gosh, do you think there could be some double dates in the future? Mia also has a dreamy ex-fiancé (Eugenio Siller) who dumped her and has now returned, which complicates affairs.
The screenplay (written by Higareda and Cory Brusseau) can be quite clever. When Adán and two friends walk into a club, Mia envisions them as three dogs, the four-legged variety. Mia grouses about musical montages in rom-coms, only to have the scene immediately followed by one.
Less imaginative is a silly device used to set the plot in motion. A TV executive challenges Mia to make Adán fall in love with her; if he does, she’ll get her own TV show. Hey, is this “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” or something?
Best to ignore that bit of silliness. Instead, focus on the lively banter delivered by a cast that can charm your socks off. Chaparro can be suave one minute and completely silly the next; he gets a lot of laughs during an encounter with some angry female wrestlers. Higareda, captivating and funny, is his ideal match. She speaks about how she’s in control while her extensions literally fall from her head.
The two are just delightful together. And when one of them goes running after the other and there’s a grand romantic gesture in the climax, you probably will just “ooh” and “aah” a little bit.