El hijo de la novia
starring Ricardo Darín, Héctor Alterio, Norma Aleandro, Eduardo Blanco
screenplay by Juan José Campanella, Fernando Castets
directed by Juan José Campanella
by Walter Chaw Restaurateur Rafael (Ricardo Darín)--divorced, paunchy, successful--has a stress- and sweets-inspired heart attack at the age of forty-two, prompting him to reconcile with his estranged mother (Norma Aleandro) and consider selling the family restaurant, and forcing him into a reconsideration of the blasé attitude he has towards his beautiful girlfriend, Naty (Natalia Verbeke). An exhausted contrivance to push a selfish and unpleasant man towards a resuscitation of his wasted life, Juan José Campanella's Son of the Bride (El Hijo de la novia) adds to the "cardiac arrest as a means to mid-life crisis" trope such overly manipulative and sentimental movements as an adorably Alzheimer's afflicted mother, an impassioned monologue about the emptiness of organized religion in the lives of the truly pious, and the return of a childhood pal, Juan Carlos (Eduardo Blanco, doing his best Roberto Benigni), whose own misfortunes cast Rafael's into stark relief.