The Other Side of the Bed Emilio Martinez-Lazaro

The Other Side of the Bed Emilio Martinez-Lazaro
"El otro lado de la cama" is the true name of this subtitled film, a top grossing and multi-Goya-nominated movie for Spain in 2002. Directed by the award-winning Emilio Martinez-Lazaro, and starring some of Spain's hottest young performers, including Paz Vega (Talk to Her, Sex and Lucia), The Other Side of the Bed is a funny, thoughtful film. Too bad some aspects seem to have been lost in translation. Pedro and Paula are best friends with Javier and Sonia, so when Paula (Natalia Verbeke) announces over coffee that she's fallen in love with someone else, Pedro (Guillermo Toledo) knows just who to turn to. Sonia (Paz Vega) is comforting but Javier (Ernesto Alterio) is insistent that Paula ditched him for an old boyfriend, in an attempt to throw Pedro off the track before he finds out that Javier is actually her new love. In secret, Javier promises Paula that he will tell Sonia about them but can never bring himself to do it. Meanwhile, Sonia's pity for Pedro is turning to lust. The Other Side of the Bed is about relationships, exploring themes of monogamy, gender roles, sexual orientation and love. Intrigued yet? It's too bad about the singing. It's actually a musical and an awkward one at that. With sometimes less than poetic lyrics, modern dance breaks up the scenes suddenly, with random leotard-clad dancers using faucets, pool tables, office chairs and tennis court walls as dance props, seriously injuring the film's realism. The production notes draw comparisons between this film and Moulin Rouge, but it's not fantastical enough and the bursts of singing and dancing seem jarring. While one Magnolia-esque song towards the final half of the film is forgivable, you may want to use the musical sequences to get more popcorn. (Mongrel Media)