Margarita Dominique Cardona and Laurie Colbert
Published Jun 20, 2013When Margarita opens, the titular Mexican-Canadian nanny (Nicole Correia Damude) is sinking into a hot tub with her girlfriend, Jane (Christine Horne), and three of their lesbian friends. While they're giggling and prancing around in bikinis, Margarita's employers, Ben (Patrick McKenna), a dentist, and Gail (Claire Lautier), a doctor, are out front bickering with a tow truck driver sent to repossess their car. The economy has hit them hard and they're struggling to stay afloat after buying an oversized house in an affluent neighbourhood, presumably to get their 14-year-old daughter, Mali (Maya Ritter), into a better high school based on postal code.
Rather than dote on the peculiarity of a nanny having a questionable hot tub party in full view of a teenager, Dominique Cardona and Laurie Colbert's decidedly lighter-hearted follow-up to the draining fantastical drama, Finn's Girl, takes a playful, albeit politically conscious and sanctimonious, approach to the material. Margarita is just an invaluable member of the family, as evidenced by her constant household repairs, her ability to teach Mali math and her morning smoothie-making routine. The hot tub scene merely exists to show a bit of skin and convince us of how playful and whimsical lesbians are.
And since every character is merely an affable, goofy vessel, Ben and Gail's difficult decision to let Margarita go to save a bit of money is milked to maximum effect. Every time they attempt to advise her of the layoff, she's making them lunch or fixing something around the house. That she might be aware of such an inevitability isn't really touched upon, even when she starts harassing her girlfriend of five months to get married.
The focus, beyond the vague comedy that isn't funny and the tepid drama that isn't dramatic, seems to be how economic shortcomings have a trickle down effect on those at the bottom of the chain. There's also a bit of liberal posturing about the immigration process in Canada to add a bit of spice to Colbert and Cardona's mostly static, bland direction.
Beyond the assertion that they understand the world's woes and can appreciate the altruistic and entirely loveable lower class, there's a contrary preoccupation with job title as key signifier of a person's importance. Much like the doctors in Finn's Girl, everyone, aside from Margarita, is a doctor, dentist or law student. While appropriate, since the majority of Toronto is convinced of their own importance, Colbert and Cardona are unaware of this irony or vulgar superficiality, instead demonstrating blind adherence to an amusing status quo.
Like everything else in the milquetoast Margarita, their narrative assertions and intentions are entirely performative and a projection of ego and desired perception more so than organic or driven by a need to tell a story or share a worldview. This slight, forgettable vanity project is as inoffensive as it is a transparent tool for cocktail function bragging, allowing Colbert and Cardona to have an artistic, philanthropist-adjacent persona that gives them access to the world of the doctors and lawyers they're obsessed with. (Dykon Films)