Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Semen: A Love Sample (2005, Daniela Fejerman & Ines Paris

A couple of months ago I stumbled on to a true hidden gem of a movie named The Method (El Metodo in Spanish) and was absolutely blown away by not only the direction and writing but also the performances from the ensemble cast. The one performance in the film that was a stand out for me was the performance given by this actor named Ernesto Altero who, in my opinion, absolutely stole the show with his minimal screen time. So, when I stumbled on to this film where he is the lead and gets to show his comedic chops I became very interested in checking it out.

I like to try and discover hidden or overlooked gems a lot. I would say that 1/3rd of my movie watching is spent on trying to discover these gems. Most of the time they end up being "ok films" and far from gems and even though Semen: A Love Sample (Semen: Una Historia de Amor in Spanish) is not a true hidden or overlooked gem, it is still a pretty fun film that deserves some more love.

Ernesto Alterio plays Serafin who has been cursed with bad luck since his childbirth and now works as a doctor in a fertility clinic. One day while riding his bike he hits a girl named Ariadana (a very cute Leticia Dolera) and it is love at first sight for him but because of his shyness he is unable to even talk to her. However, to his surprise, he finds out later that day that Ariadana is his newest patient. Serafin wanting to give her the best sperm that he has in his lab in order to make sure she gets her wish and gets pregnant accidentally breaks the best sperm sample he has and decides to just donate his own sperm instead. What follows is a series of adventures and mishaps as Serafin and Ariadana fall in love even though she doesn’t know that he is the father of her yet to be born baby.

Now, if the plot description that you just read sounds silly it's because it really is just that: silly. That is not a bad thing at all though. The film tries to go for a screwball like execution in its plot, humor, and performances and for the most part it does it all very well with a nice subtle visional style to it all. Things get goofy and over the top but the direction and especially the performance by Ernesto Alterio let us not take everything too silly and just have fun with whatever comes next.

This screwball like and over the top nature to it all also happens to be the films main weakness though as it also sometimes pushes its own limits with its self consciously absurd plot and story. It's all fun and its all entertaining but for the same reason that it’s so over the top it also loses most of its emotional subtleties and because of this the main love story of the film is always sweet and cute but never really as touching as it might want you to believe.

Semen: A Love Sample (I am not a fan of the English title by the way) is a film that is almost impossible to hate. It's too much fun, charming, and entertaining to warrant any hate what so ever. If you are able to accept how crazy and silly the film gets then you are sure to have a fun time with it. It sure is a lot better than any romantic comedies that I have seen lately.


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