"Comical Personal Journeys in College"
How does a person choose their future? Do they follow the dreams and career’s chosen by their parents, or do they follow their own desires and passions?
Such is the tension in 3 IDIOTAS, a Mexican comedy. The story follows three friends, Felipe, Beto and Pancho, trying to find their way in college.
Felipe is at school because of his family’s financial sacrifice. He’s the first in his family to attend college. As such, he struggles to succeed under the pressure of their expectations.
Beto attends the university at the behest of his father without regard for his feelings on the matter. What he truly loves, photography, he can’t pursue because his parents are paying for him to become an engineer.
The third idiota, Pancho, is larger than life. Smooth talking, calm and confident under pressure, he is the free spirit needed in the lives of his two friends. Pancho isn’t without need, however. The secret he holds close is the very thing he seeks: family and a sense of belonging.
Mariana, the lone girl of the group, highlights Pancho’s deficiency. She becomes the focal point for change in the three friends.
3 IDIOTAS is a whimsical exploration on the themes of family, friendship, expectation, success, and love. The cinematography, acting, scoring, and locations offer a rich cinematic experience. Each element works well with the other to create a believable world. The world offered by the movie contains competing visions about the meaning of life. At odds are the world of the parents and the young college students. It is the expectation to excel in order to have a successful career and to be financially stable. Juxtapose this world of expectation and parental obedience with the desire to follow one’s heart and passion, regardless of the stability it may provide.
In this struggle, the importance of friendship arises. Each of the characters need companionship to have people that can speak truth into their lives. Ultimately, this companionship grants Felipe, Beto and Pancho the courage to face their individual trials.
Eventually, 3 IDIOTAS pits the virtues of love, friendship and family against those of a successful career, wealth, and material possessions. It asks questions such as Where do we find our worth? Where do we spend our time and energy? In short, what are the things to which we give ourselves?
This movie is relatively clean for one that takes place at a university. The language is tame, containing only several light obscenities. There is no human nudity, but there are two instances of artistic nudity. The first is an old nude statue in the professor’s office. The second takes place with a nude ice sculpture at a wedding. In that scene, Felipe get his tongue stuck on the breast of the ice sculpture on a dare. The dare goes horribly wrong, and the wedding reception is disrupted. The movie contains little violence. There are a few scenes where an individual gets punched multiple times. Alcohol is present in a couple scenes. In one of those scenes, people look inebriated.
A main fault with 3 IDIOTAS lies with its near juvenile humor. In a scene near the beginning that brings the three friends together, a student gets electrocuted by urinating on a backpack. Also, fart and bad smell jokes make an appearance throughout. Sexuality is handled a few times in an adolescent awkwardness.
At a deeper level, there is a serious philosophical element. For most of the movie, the world seems to occur within an inherently Christian world, though this is not explicit. The closest is a crucifix belonging to one of Felipe’s family members. This icon is at odds with some good luck charms that make an appearance, including a rabbit’s foot, a feather and (most alarming) a pocket-sized Buddha. At the very least, this is a leveling of sorts that makes each of these equal to the other. The only value is that which is subjectively placed by the individual. Furthermore, the end montage during the credits has images from the Hindu faith. All of these symbols are never explicitly discussed in the movie, but the fact remains that they are there. There is power in the icon regardless of use, and this is a cause for discernment.
All in all, 3 IDIOTAS is a fun movie about the joys and trials associated with growing up. It’s about the bonds of friendship between Felipe, Beto, Pancho, and Mariana. The movie is mixed with Romantic, pagan and moral elements. It says a person’s desires, talent and passions should animate their actions in the world, but right desires and passions are also grounded in friendship, family and love. MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution for 3 IDIOTAS.
(PaPa, C, BB, RoRo, L, V, S, NN, AA, M) Mixed pagan worldview includes some good luck charms, including a pocket sized Buddha figurine and some Hindu dance moves during the credits, mixed with some Christian cultural elements, including the use of a crucifix, and a strong sense of right and wrong, but some strong Romantic elements about “following your passion”; five light obscenities, no profanities, several toilet humor jokes involving the passing of gas, urination on a student backpack; light violence in the form of punching a student in the face four times, a female student slaps a male student in the face, it’s implied someone gets an electric shock urinating, some pratfalls, character is injured in a car accident; some awkward romance, a wedding, suggestive camera movements following the clothed female body, a young man touches the breast of an ice sculpture and gets his tongue stuck on the breast as he poses for his friend with a camera, a scene depicting the birth of a child performed by students; no actual explicit human nudity, but an old nude statue of a woman is in the professors office, a nude female ice sculpture is the center piece at a wedding reception, and there’s brief depiction of female cleavage; light depiction of alcohol in two scenes and implied inebriation; and, a young man breaks into his fellow students’ apartment to steal their invention, a young man copies files from a peer without him knowing it, a young man sneaks onto a girl’s balcony at night, a girl sneaks out of the house without her father’s knowledge, a group of students haze incoming freshmen, there’s an act of revenge in self-defense toward a bully on behalf of the students being hazed.
3 IDIOTAS is a Mexican comedy about Beto, Felipe and Pancho’s time at college, where they struggle to discover their identity. Beto wrestles with allowing a parental decree to dictate his choice between engineering and photography. Felipe struggles with confidence due to paralysis caused by being the first of his family to attend university. Pancho, though free-spirited, has a deep desire for longing and acceptance. While at school, the catalyst for change comes through a girl who attracts Pancho’s attention. With the help of one another, each friend finds the courage to move forward.
3 IDIOTAS is an engaging movie about friendship and the joys and trials associated with growing up. The movie is mixed with Romantic, pagan and moral elements. It says a person’s desires, talent and passions should animate their actions in the world, but right desires and passions are grounded in friendship, family and love. There’s brief foul language, but there’s some scatological humor, references to good luck charms and other questionable content, including a comical encounter with a nude ice sculpture. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution for 3 IDIOTAS.