'Mari(dos)' is not what I expected at all: an intelligent deconstruction of toxic masculinity with a script full of surprises

When the first thing we see in a movie is the Mediaset and Telecinco Cinema logo, the most normal thing is that Let’s sigh of boredom before what is to come. Although in the drama they have hit the nail on the head on more than one occasion (‘The impossible’, ‘A monster comes to see me’, ‘There will be no peace for the wicked’, ‘Cell 211’, ‘Negotiator’) it is normal to unite the two producers mentally with samples of the most Spanish comedy: ‘Operación Camarón’, ‘If I were rich’, ‘It’s for your own good’ or ‘Rasputin’s dagger’, for example, left here. And the trailer for ‘Mari(dos)’ does not promise that things will go in other directions. However, the shamelessness of its premise gives way to a story of friendship, love, masculine deconstruction and unexpected twists. You may not believe it, but here the first surprised was me.


We all feared that Lucía Alemany would have fallen into the curse of second films after dazzling in 2019 with the very competent ‘La inocencia’, giving himself over to the fast money and massive distribution that Telecinco could give him. But the truth is that ‘Mari (two)’ is, at the same time, a change of direction in his career, maintaining his commitment to stories that hide much more than it seems and the perfect proof that apparently silly comedies don’t have to stay only on the surface.

Alemany dedicates himself for just over an hour and a half to dissect two men who find themselves in the most unimaginable situationbut who deny their friendship against all odds due to an internalized toxic masculinity and an almost atavistic feeling of possession. And all this modeled on the basis of hilarious sequences with almost perfect comic timing. To my own surprise, ‘Mari(dos)’ has a thesis and something to tell about the world around us. It is not, to understand us, ‘Villaviciosa next door’.


It is true that to get to this point you have to overcome different speed bumps: the script, which has more than one brilliant twist that you can’t smell until the end, falls into simplicity on more than one occasion and, by wanting to put too many components in the same pot, not all of them end up being equally well done. It happens with the character of the trans child, who belongs to another film (although it serves to see Emilio’s evolution) and ends up being too blurred for a subject that must be treated carefully and without falling into silliness. It’s a small mistake in a movie that usually he knows how to control when and how to laugh, grieve or make his characters shine.

A Catalan from Seville

It’s not all hunky-dory and there are some downright weird base bugs. For example, that of the Catalan identity of a Sevillian. For some reason that contributes nothing to the story, Paco León plays Toni, a Catalan with an accent as strong as it is false that does not end up having a reason beyond “it makes you laugh”. As much as the character has great moments (that first conversation in the car where he brings up the limits of humor), there’s always something in acting that doesn’t allow us to fully enter.


At least opposite is a prodigious Ernesto Alterio who is always solvent in both drama and comedy, with the role of a family man tired of life and with a very bad temper who, deep down, hides a deep grudge against himself. His emotional journey is the most beautiful and interesting thing about ‘Mari (two)’: in the first scene he is a sarcastic curmudgeon, who grows as a person until he is able to admit his weaknesses. The film revolves around their relationship when they discover that they share a wife… and is capable of moving away from casposity to surprise with an honest portrait of the new masculinities away from machismo and with endearing and unexpected findings (watch out for that moment of screaming into the void while pissing in the snow).

Does all this mean that the film is a political rally or a tweet speech? No not at all. It’s as funny as it is subtle, and the grains that he sows (the discussion about oral sex) are always reaped and very wisely. In ‘Mari(dos)’ there are no jokes that remain levitating in nothing: everything comes together perfectly, from the transcript of ‘Teo’ drawn by Emilio to the resolution of the mystery that Toni is trying to solve. Not only is it a coherent script that doesn’t just look for laughter for laughter’s sake, but it also has something to tell.

Is there an audience out there?

The big question is if there is an audience for a film like this, more sophisticated than any of its trailers leads us to expect but naughty enough for your brother-in-law to enjoy without having to turn around. It’s like doing ‘Scream VI’ and dedicating your marketing campaign to fans of the period drama. It’s hard, with single scenes, to grasp the themes the film is really about, but the promotion makes it seem so generic that It doesn’t seem like it will be the success it deserves in a Spanish cinema that must show that it has comedy beyond Santiago Segura.

‘Mari(dos)’ is not the epitome of cuñadismo, but one more notch in the very interesting career of Lucía Alemany, who turns what could be bizarre nonsense into a movie in a state of gracewith a script that is much better greased than it should be, treating social issues with finesse and subtlety, portraying stereotypes that go far beyond the mere profile and with some actors who dominate comic timing, happy to go beyond what anyone could intuit.

The 17 best Spanish films of 2022

Don’t get carried away by the cheesy title: ‘Mari(dos)’ knows how to play the emotional keys at the right moments, presents a wonderful cast of secondary characters (Raúl Cimas as a doctor who has no idea is pure glory, Vladimir steals every scene in which he appears) and defies the expectations of a more sophisticated viewer than the production company itself expects. It’s not going to change your life, but Yes, it may teach you to believe, even a little more, that appearances are deceiving.

Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team Learn more

Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

Leave a Reply