Diego Luna

Made in: Mexico
Language: Spanish
Director: Hugo Rodriguez
Starring: Diego Luna, Jesús Ochoa, Lucas Crespi, Carmen Madrid, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Rafael Inclán, Rosa María Bianchi, Marta Belaustegui, Norman Sotolongo
Year: 2003

Synopsis: A computer geek named Lolo (Diego Luna) collaborates with amateur thieves Nene (Lucas Crespi) and Tomson (Jesús Ochoa). Lolo has obtained access codes to Swiss bank accounts, and the plan is for the three of them to deliver the data to a Russian gangster named Svóboda (Norman Sotolongo) in exchange for a fortune in diamonds.

After copying the stolen data to a disc, Lolo sparks the ire of his Spanish neighbor Andrea (Marta Belaustegui). Lolo has been infatuated with her, and things get complicated when Andrea finds out that he's been recording her phone conversations and secretly video taping her every move via hidden cameras.

This touches off a sequence of events that causes the diamond deal to go bad. As the misunderstandings and mixups escalate, other characters get involved. Among them is Goyo (Rafael Inclán), a poor barber, and his nagging wife Carmen (Rosa María Bianchi).

And also getting dragged into in the caper is Clara (Carmen Madrid), a pharmacist, and her controlling husband Beto (Daniel Giménez Cacho).

The Good: The actors are all convincing, and all the loose ends of the story at least come together (somewhat). And the running time isn't too long, either.

The Bad: Unfortunately, Nicotina tries too hard to be witty, philosophical, and clever. Director Hugo Rodriguez seems to have tried ripping off elements of Quentin Tarantino movies in an attempt to create the vibe of a cool indie gangster flick.

And it simply doesn't work.

None of the characters are likeable, and it's too bad that more of them didn't die. Every attempt at being hip comes across as insincere and annoyingly cocky. The visuals and plot devices that serve as setups for later scenes are way too obvious, and even if you can't guess how the story will end exactly, you'll be able to easily predict when the important parts will take place (which is almost just as bad).

Who would like this movie: I wouldn't recommend this movie, regardless of whether or not you're a fan of foreign films or gangster stories.

Although it's not downright awful, there's nothing memorable (or original) about it. It's too self-conscious and generally uninteresting. A perfectly average waste of time.

(2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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