"Mexico’s Greatest Comedian Deserves More Laughs"
What You Need To Know:
CANTINFLAS has some nice moments, but they are few and far between. Competent cinematography and acting carry the movie, but the story falls flat as it tries to tell two different stories. The overall message and worldview are morally uplifting, though weak. Cantinflas has to remember where he came from and humble himself to serve the audience. He also learns his wife is the most important thing in his life. Movieguide® advises caution for CANTINFLAS due to foul language and implied adultery.
(BB, C, Pa, CapCap, LL, V, S, AA, D, M) Strong moral worldview uplifting family, humility and fighting for the less fortunate, with a few illusions to Christianity (including a reference to C.B. DeMille’s TEN COMMANDMENTS) and some light paganism shown in some immoral choices the main characters make, plus strong free market messages as Mario works his way up from the bottom through creativity and hard work, and also exposing corrupt unions; six obscenities and four profanities; some light fist fighting and wrestling; a woman throws herself at a young man, starting to remove his clothing, but her father enters, implied adultery, some kissing; no explicit nudity but several dancers are seen throughout in provocative dresses; moderate drinking with one man who’s clearly drunk; heavy smoking of cigarettes; and, gambling and bribery.
CANTINFLAS is a biography from Mexico about Mexico’s greatest comedy star, Mario Moreno, also known as Cantinflas. It could be better made.
The movie begins in Hollywood 1955 as the former Broadway producer, Michael Todd, tries to get the movie Around the World in 80 Days made. Stress is mounting on him as production has yet to begin, and Michael has no stars signed up for the high budget adventure.
Cut back to a traveling tent in 1931 Mexico City. Suitcase in hand, Mario Moreno asks for a job and gets one. Cleaning up after performers, Mario thinks of himself as a boxer and asks if he can fight one of the experienced boxers. As soon as he steps into the ring, it’s clear Mario is more clown than boxer. Mario fails miserably, but garners some laughs. After trying his hand at bull fighting and other tent show performances, he can’t seem to find a skill set that entertains. One night while being heckled during a performance, Mario starts making jokes about the heckler on the fly. Quickly, he wins over the crowd, but is fired later that evening over an incident with the tent owner’s daughter.
Picked up by a bigger traveling tent owned by a Russian family that sees his potential, Mario’s goofy and witty behavior becomes more and more popular. He picks up the nickname Cantinflas, marries one of the Russian daughters and is no longer entertaining in tents, but theaters.
In 1955, Michael has only a few days to get a star-studded cast. In a final attempt, he flies to Mexico City to see if the incredibly popular Cantinflas will have a cameo appearance in the movie. Refusing to work with a major studio, Cantinflas declines.
Back in the 1940s Cantinflas has becomes one of the most powerful celebrities in Mexico. Shaking up the corrupt unions engaging in bribery, he works hard to fight for actors. Meanwhile, as his fame and fortune grows, his relationship with his wife goes downhill, and he begins to lose the only person that matters to him. As both timelines collide, Cantinflas must remember who he truly is and what truly matters.
CANTINFLAS has some nice moments, but they are very few and far between. Competent cinematography and acting carry the movie through, but the story falls flat as it tries to tell two different stories. Additionally, for a movie that’s about Mexico’s greatest comedy legend, both the humor and the charm are lacking. On the plus side are several surprise representations of Hollywood legends, like Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando.
The overall message and worldview, though weakly represented, is positive and morally uplifting. Cantinflas has to remember his origins and humble himself to serve the people. Ultimately, he learns his wife is the most important thing in his life, but his philandering is never reprimanded. On a side note, in reality, Cantinflas only son was born of another woman, whom his wife took as their own because she couldn’t have children.
CANTINFLAS could have been a much more positive experience. Movieguide® advises caution for children due to some foul language and implied adultery.