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Film review: Don Juan, My Love

As if to prove that all foreign-language films are not necessarily artistic, the Spanish knockabout farce "Don Juan, My Love" comes to town, a very silly film that has a few amusing moments but is too dull to sustain its feature length.

The story suggests that the spirit of notorious rake Don Juan (Juan Luis Galiardo) has been rising from his grave on the eve of All Saints Day in Seville annually for 450 years, and each year is given a 24-hour period to perform a good deed, so he may be released from purgatory.

But, as you might expect, a rake is a rake, and Don Juan has been unable to achieve his goal. Now, in a modern-day setting, it appears that things will be no different. Until the film's twist, a tiresome variation on an old plot device that has been familiar since the dawn of slapstick comedy.

The twist comes as we meet an actor, also a notorious womanizer (also played by Galiardo), who is playing Don Juan in a local stage production. When he storms off the stage, the real, albeit ghostly Don Juan replaces him.

The character, as it turns out, is a very nasty fellow, dealing in cocaine trafficking and treating the women in his acting troupe very badly. The real Don Juan, of course, is charming and gentle to each of them, and when they all wind up in a hotel together, the resulting door-slamming slapstick is entirely predictable.

There are some amusing tricks here, as with one female character (Loles Leon) who, instead of speaking, creatively clicks castanets as we read subtitles. And some of the ghostly walking-through-walls gags are amusing.

But much of this is quite tedious as the co-writer/director Antonio Mercero paces the physical comedy awkwardly and the performers are, at best, perfunctory (including several actresses who have looked much better when guided by Pedro Almodvar). Worse, the ending, a sort of cocaine-can-be-fun moment, seems quite tasteless given the current anti-drug climate.

"Don Juan, My Love" is not rated but would probably get an R for considerable sexuality, some nudity, profanity, vulgarity, violence and drug abuse.