Dreary, monotonous, and finally, appalling. Americano (in English and French dialogue with English subtitles) tracks a French businessman to the United States to claim his deceased mother’s trust fund and finds himself on a preposterous trek to Mexico to find a stripper/hooker (Salma Hayek) who is partly owed the inheritance. Mathieu Demy, who wrote and directed, also stars as Martin, has only succeeded in putting up the least street smart guy the movies have ever seen. Additionally, I have no apologies in saying that Demy gives one of the worst acting performances that I’ve ever seen. He’s a wet sponge, wimpy. Demy defies plausible adult decisions.
I hate men, or characters in general, who don’t know how to speak up for themselves. After some deadly lethargic scenes set in L.A., Martin finds himself in seedy Tijuana, Mexico, doing exactly what is necessary to assure that his car (and I.D. papers) will be stolen. He goes into the skanky strip club to reason with Lola the stripper, but before he can ever get up the words, finds himself swindled. Over and over again. The club proprietor has without a doubt found the easiest mark of all-time. When Martin is flushed out of cash after a couple of days, he is banned from the club. He still tries to talk reason to Lola.
By the way, Martin has a serious girlfriend back in Paris who wants to have children with him. If she knew what a tool-dripping dupe he behaved in Mexico, she would never have him back. The final message of “Americano” is that Lola, the trickster that she is, will always have a soft spot in Martin’s heart. Can I gag now?
Note to Demy: It might help your future movies if you spend ample research time visiting locations such as Tijuana before you actually write about the area. Know your subject before you go into production. As it is, you’ve made a painfully phony movie.
105 Minutes. Unrated. French in English subtitles.
FOREIGN FILM / FOOD FOR THOUGHT MOVIE / WINTER TALE
Film Cousins: “Exotica” (1995, Canada); “Striptease” (1996); “Summer Hours” (2008, France); “Sin Nombre” (2009, Mexico).