Sophisticated sex in Mexico

BRUCE KIRKLAND

, Last Updated: 3:50 PM ET

Sexo caliente means "hot sex," and that's what the hormone-driven teen lovers in Y Tu Mama Tambien are having 24-7.

Few movies, other than pornos, are quite this explicit, quite this robust, quite this wild.

But this is not just a sex movie. While the casual make-out sessions could send prudes out of the cinema screaming, it was done with guts and gusto so that the raw images would have purpose.

Shaped and set in context by the skillful New York-based Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron (Great Expectations, A Little Princess, Love In The Time Of Hysteria), they illuminate the mindset of a restless, young Mexican generation.

The title of the film translates into English as And Your Mother Too. And, yes, that is obviously meant to be cheeky. This movie is all about attitude just as much as action.

Our supposed heroes are two teenaged boys. One (Diego Luna) is the scion of a rich family with corrupt political connections. The other (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a middle-class kid whose mother works long hours and whose leftist sister mounts the barricades of whatever protest is current.

At this point in their underdeveloped lives, the two boys-to-men are far more interested in bedroom antics than boardroom activities or political intrigue.

In short, they are callow youths who think with their penises (although the excellent performances by Luna and Bernal suggest far more than that).

Their sexcapades with their girlfriends are, therefore, hilarious and disturbing at the same time. Don't assume the young females involved are hapless victims. They have their own agendas and are more empowered than the two males, although this movie does not explore that theme very far.

The two boys, neither of whom has a shred of common sense, undertake a unique emotional journey to manhood.

The catalyst is an older woman (Maribel Verdu) who is visiting Mexico City from Spain. Disaffected and lonely, she decides to take the boys up on an offer to drive to the Pacific Ocean to find a mythical paradise beach. On the trip, she helps both boys grow up and finds her own inner peace.

While it masquerades as a sex romp, Y Tu Mama Tambien is actually a very sophisticated movie. It moves with urgency and surprises with its sudden shifts in tone and direction.

As bittersweet as it is sexy, the movie also shows how superficial the portraits of Mexico are in conventional Hollywood movies. This Mexico is more of the real thing. The Hollywood Mexico is too often a shooting location dressed up with cliches.

I prefer the real thing, this remarkably engaging movie with its provocative images, sexo caliente and real soul.

(This film is rated R)


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