Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Half Brothers - Movie Review

The Movie: Half Brothers

The Director: Luke Greenfield

The Cast: Luis Gerardo Méndez, Connor Del Rio, José Zúñiga, Vincent Spano, Pia Watson, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Jwaundace Candece

The Story: Renato, a Mexican aviation exec, is shocked to learn he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher. They are forced on a road trip together, tracing the path their father took from Mexico to the US.

The Review:
At first glance, I was like wow this looks super cheesy and I'll tell you it kind of is. It's a silly slapstick kind of movie that doesn't really take itself seriously at all except for a few moments when it really needs to. Director Luke Greenfield fills his movie with a lot of outlandish scenarios as a way for the brothers to get in and out of trouble and slowly build a bond between them. Some of them work and some don't but overall the trajectory is pretty clear and I found myself rooting for them to find as much common ground as possible.

To be honest, both characters, Renato played by Luis Gerardo Méndez and Asher played by Connor Del Rio are kind of annoying which is intentional due to their extreme personalities but I found it difficult at the beginning to sympathize with either of them which isn't really a great way to start a movie. As the movie progresses, each of them learns lessons and we learn more about who they are so, in the storytelling, they at least grow to tolerate each other. That being said, I was still never really sold on any sort of redemption or growth from the characters, they are who they are from beginning to end so I'm not exactly sure what was accomplished.

I suppose that might going to deep into character for this movie as it's definitely more about the laughs which there are an awful lot of and it's actually pretty easy to enjoy the movie just for that. The movie would have actually been better off if there was less of an attempt to tug at all the emotions when it comes to fathers, sons, brothers, and the fallout of failed relationships within the family dynamic. There's also several attempts at social commentary as we get a brief look at subpar working conditions for immigrants, lack of opportunities for minorities, and the imprisonment of immigrants, all of which have been hot button topics this year. As much as I like to see a spotlight shown on these types of things, including it in a silly, wacky comedy like this felt out of place and didn't have any of the intended impact.

The Verdict:
Half Brothers is kind of a fun movie that tries to be too many different things. It's a wacky road trip movie, a dysfunctional buddy comedy, and sort of a family drama with awkward spurts of social commentary thrown in and none of it meshes together very all. If you can handle all of that, you might enjoy the movie.

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