'Perfect Crime' nearly ferpect

BILL HARRIS - Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:57 AM ET

PLOT: A stylish and ambitious salesperson in a Spanish department store accidentally kills his new boss. An ugly female co-worker knows what happened, and she seizes the opportunity for sexual blackmail.

The actual title of this funny Spanish film is Crimen Ferpecto, which translates to Ferpect Crime.

The typo is intentional, but the public may have perceived it as unintentional. Therefore, the title has been changed to Perfect Crime for the English-speaking world.

Too bad, since Ferpect Crime better reflects the quirky nature of this fine comedic effort.

Rafael (Guillermo Toledo) is an up-and-coming department-store salesman and a wildly successful ladies man whose life is on a perfect track until he gets passed over for a promotion.

Rafael kills his new boss Don Antonio -- who is played by Luis Valera and looks alarmingly like sportscaster Marv Albert -- when a changing-room argument turns unexpectedly violent. The only witness is Lourdes (Monica Cervera), who has loved Rafael for years but was too homely to attract his attention.

Lourdes has the information that could get Rafael thrown into jail at the drop of a hat, and she uses that power to the romantic extreme. Eventually Rafael starts to think, hey, I already have killed one person, why not two?

The term "ferpect" comes up midway through the film when Rafael is pondering a way to get rid of Lourdes. Looking for ideas, Rafael purchases a wide array of movies with murderous plotlines.

When the cashier in the video store punches in the items, a movie called Perfect Crime comes up on the digital display as Ferpect Crime. No, no, no, spouts an agitated Rafael, who is losing his grip on reality. It has to be perfect. Perfect!

Toledo is hilarious as Rafael. At times his frantic prancing brings to mind the legendary John Cleese in the role of exasperated resort-owner Basil Fawlty.

But Perfect Crime isn't merely slapstick. It also endeavours to say something profound about society's obsession with physical beauty.

"You pretend to be nice because you have to, then jump at any chance to take out your accumulated rage on someone," Rafael screams at Lourdes in a scene just before the climax.

"You're ugly, Lourdes. Very ugly. It's not your fault. But it's not mine, either. It's the world we live in that makes me hate you."

Well, that and all her control-freaky shenanigans.

BOTTOM LINE: Films with subtitles sometimes drive movie-goers crazy, but this one is well worth your time. It isn't quite "perfect," but it is close to "ferpect."

(This film is rated 14-A)


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