In “Perfect Strangers,” a brand new movie from Mexico directed by Manolo Caro, three heterosexual married , and one fellow attending stag, undergo a queasy feast sport, one recommended by the hostess — a psychologist. Tonight, they’re not going to be impolite and depart the desk with their telephones at any time when they get a textual content alert or an incoming name. Instead, the company all place their telephones on the middle of the desk, and when there’s an alert, they’ll divulge to their pals their texts and Facebook messages and maintain conversations with incoming callers on speaker. This guarantees to be a revealing night, and that promise is fulfilled.
And in case you suppose this appears like a nifty premise for a up to date grownup drama, you’re hardly alone. This film is a remake of an Italian one from 2017, which has additionally been remade in Greece, Turkey, Hungary, France and South Korea.
I haven’t seen the opposite variations, however this image is properly acted (one of many forged members, Manuel García-Rulfo, has a rising profile in Hollywood; he was seen final yr in “Widows” and “Sicario: Day of the Soldado”) and maintains narrative interest without ever grabbing the viewer by the lapels.
It’s not surprising that at first the movie fakes the viewer out, with innocuous incoming calls and one character prancing the table with a cellphone borrowed from a resident teen. Then one husband guiltily asks the single member of the group to swap phones with him so he’ll be the recipient of an expected racy text. The turnabout — in which he is hoisted by his own petard — is squirmy but not as resonant as it would like to be. The movie bogs down toggling between melodrama and parable, leading to a denouement that plays like a semi-homage to Luis Buñuel’s “Belle de Jour,” always a nice movie to be reminded of.
If this sounds like your thing, don’t hold out for the logically inevitable American remake: The rights to the property for this territory were bought in 2017 by the now-defunct Weinstein Company.