Starring: Luis Arrieta, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Barbara De Regil
Director: Luis Javier M. Henaine
Running Time: 80 mins
Happy Times (Tiempos felices) is a Mexican film about a man who wishes to leave his clingy girlfriend, and is then contacted by a mysterious organisation that says they can take his case into their own hands.
I absolutely loved this film. It’s a bit of a silly premise, and doesn’t make all that much sense at times, but with a very funny script, entertaining performances and a lovely message at the centre of the story, it’s a sweet and short film that’s absolutely delightful from start to finish.
First off, let’s just look at the one thing that the film doesn’t really manage to pull off all that well. As excellent a romantic comedy as it is, the part of the story about the secret organisation that can come to your rescue if you want to dump your partner just isn’t all that convincing. Although it makes for a couple of entertaining moments, as well as play a central role in the film’s excellent finale, it’s generally a lot less effective as a story device than it should be, occasionally getting in the way of a fully coherent stories, given that it causes a couple of people to act completely out of character at times.
Apart from that, however, Happy Times is pretty much perfect. For me, the best part about it is definitely the pleasant and heartfelt atmosphere. It starts off with some hilarious comedy in the first act, but once you get to know the characters, the rest of the film is a far calmer yet still hugely enjoyable watch, as we follow a man desperately trying to wrap his head around how to get rid of his girlfriend, as well as a good few other strange happenings around him.
The performances are excellent, with Luis Arrieta proving a very likable lead character, and Cassandra Ciangherotti a sufficiently irritating yet sweet enough girlfriend, as well as a couple of entertaining supporting performances such as that from Barbara De Regil, throwing a real spanner in the works of an already out-of-hand situation.
The film is short, and generally very light-hearted, but what impressed me most in the end was how the film ties everything up. Rather than being predictable, the film’s final act goes through a couple of big twists and turns that ultimately allow for a wonderful central message to come through, reinforcing the idea that love isn’t something that should just be wasted, whether it’s for someone else’s or your own good, and that not everything is settled until you make the last decision yourself.
It may sound a little cheesy, but the story makes it work in a brillianly heartfelt and enjoyable way, and along with the excellent comedy and performances throughout, it makes for a really lovely film, which is why I’m giving Happy Times an 8.1 overall.