The Other Side of the Bed

UK release date: Mar 26 2008

cast list

Ernesto Alterio
Paz Vega
Guillermo Toledo
Natalia Verbeke

directed by
Emilio Martinez Lzaro

One of the problems with making a modern-day musical is that you risk sacrificing all suspended disbelief when characters burst into song. There are ways around this of course; from the gritty realism of 8 Mile, in which the songs are firmly planted within the plot, to the theatrics of Chicago, which makes no claims to realism at all.

The Other Side Of The Bed uses a different device, keeping the dramatic scenes straight and using the songs as book-ends at the end of sequences, commenting on, but not interfering with, the story itself.

The plot is simpler than it sounds. There are two couples – Javier and Sonia, and Pedro and Paula. At the start of the film, Paula breaks up with Pedro, explaining that she is in love with someone else. Pedro is distraught, and tries to get Javier, his best friend, to help him figure out who the lover is, but Javier is reluctant, as it’s him. Meanwhile, Javier tries to set Pedro up with Pilar, but Pedro is more interested in Sonia…

There are more complications to come, of course, in what is a surprisingly likeable musical sex comedy – think Coupling with songs and lashings of nudity. The plot has plenty of twists, and lots of funny moments; I particularly liked the Clouseau-esque private detective who claimed that his patented detection process proved, without doubt, that the Kennedy shooting was a carefully-staged suicide.

The cast is also impressive. Ernesto Alterio gives an excellent comic performance as Javier, and Maria Esteve provides delicious support as Pilar, the slightly over-talkative girl who clings to Pedro like a life-raft. The song and dance routines are nicely choreographed, and clearly designed for the screen rather than the stage, and amongst the songs there are more hits than misses.

However there are quite a few slow moments, and the juvenile giggling about homosexuality begins to grate after a while. The film is also surprisingly graphic for a 15 certificate, although with such an attractive cast that’s as much a recommendation as a warning. The Other Side Of The Bed is a lot of fun; that is, as long as you can bear musicals.

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