HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS SPENT THEIR SUMMER, 2005
Starring: America Ferrera, Elizabeth Pena, Lucy Galladro,
Three generations of women in a Mexican American family experience sexual awakenings over the course of a summer.
So, I saw this movie for three reasons: 1) It was about to expire as a streaming movie on Netflix, so I figured I should watch it online rather than wasting a spot on my DVD queue with it. 2) America Ferrera is freaking HOT and I had hopes that with a movie about sexual awakenings I'd get to see her do a topless scene (no such luck, but there is a bra scene and you get to see her get felt up a lot and make little sexually excited wimpers). 3) The trailer made it look like it'd be a fun little comedic drama. I should have known better. Lots of trailers lie!
Dona, an elderly Mexican American woman decides to gather up the money she has hidden around her house and use it to buy herself a car, despite the fact that she doesn't know how to drive. This infuriates her daughter Lolita, although her granddaughter Blanca thinks it's cool and that Lolita is just over reacting. Lolita refuses to teach Dona how to drive, but Dona soon is offered driving lessons by her gardener Don Pedro. Through all the time Dona and Don Pedro spend together, their platonic relationship turns romantic, much to the distaste of Lolita.
Lolita runs a butcher shop in town where the one-handed butcher she employs shows romantic interest in her. Lolita is also propositioned by Victor, the man who owns and runs the local video rental store and is also a married man (his wife is a regular customer in Lolita's butcher shop). Lolita can't seem to make up her mind as her employee is a good man but she's off put by his missing hand and that she's his boss. On the other hand, she's very sexually drawn to Victor, but knows it's wrong to do anything physical with him as he's married to a friend and customer of hers. Her pent up sexual frustration (which she relieves herself with a vibrator) erupts in the form of anger toward both her mother Dona and her relationship with Don Pedro, as well as toward her daughter Blanca who's begun seeing the mechanic's nephew.
Blanca is a 17-year old virgin who goes out with her 3 girl friends on day trips into town where they spend more time doing nothing than actual activities. She is perused by multiple would-be suitors as well. One is a very tall and seemingly mentally handicapped boy who brings her flowers but doesn't ever say anything to her when he's around her. The other is Sal, the nephew of the local mechanic who drives around in a tow truck ogling Blanca. Blanca, attracted to Sal, agrees to go with him on various car rides with him. During each car ride they get to know each other better, and also become more and more physical with one another until it finally culminates in Blanca losing her virginity.
“How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” disappointed me immensely! I was hoping for a fun comedic drama involving romance and family issues. What I got was a BORING drama about romance and family issues.The first thing about this movie that made it boring was it's almost total lack of a soundtrack. About 90% of this movie is played without any music, just the voices of the characters and the sounds they make while going through their daily lives. This is a problem shared by many low-budget movies that try to be “artsy”. In some cases, the lack of soundtrack can be a very useful tool to make the audience on edge and feel the intensity of the raw moment (this was even done in an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). In this movie, however, the lack of music caused me to be bored.
Next boring point to this movie is the camera work and editing. Yes, I realize those are two totally different aspects of a movie, but in this case they worked together to make a boring cinematic experience. There were MANY scenes in which a static shot of the actor would go on and on and on, dragging the pace in each scene for far longer than it needed to be. Had this movie employed the idea that the scene should start at the point it needs to and end at the point it needs to, this over 2 hour movie could have easily been cut to 90 or even 100 minutes. Also, there was a lot of odd shots where the camera would be focused on parts of the actors rather than their faces... for instance shots of knees, feet, hands, crotches, and butts were very frequent during dialogue scenes. It came across as an attempt at being “artsy”, but all it did was make me think they were trying WAY too hard to do something unusual with the camera.
The three main actors ( America Ferrera, Elizabeth Pena, and Lucy Galladro) all gave amazing performances! Sadly, all of the supporting actors came across as rank amateurs with no talent. There were a few occasions where a supporting character or bit part seemed as if they were just trying to remember what they were supposed to say, let alone HOW to say it.
This movie was not worth my time, and even though I don't know you, reader, I'll go out on a limb and make the claim that it's not worth your time either. What little light there is with the performances of the three Garcia women is not enough to make this movie any less dull.
I give “How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” a 1 out of 5.
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