Starring: Laura Archbold, Juan Pablo Barragán, Fernando Bocanegra
Director: Felipe Martínez Amador
Running Time: 102 mins
Malcriados is a Colombian film about a wealthy businessman who decides to teach his three spoilt adult children a lesson by cutting them off from their assets and forcing them to get a job.
A remake of the fantastic box office hit from Mexico, The Noble Family, I had high expectations for Malcriados, knowing how well its story can be used to make a both funny and emotional film, but I was left pretty disappointed. Although it occasionally uses the fable-esque story of riches to rags to its advantage, it’s a far more superficial film than the Mexican original, and makes for a rather dull watch in the end.
Normally, we see remakes being produced a good few years after the original, often intended to update a story for a new generation. However, Malcriados, released only 3 years after The Noble Family, aims for easy success by using a brilliant premise executed excellently in the past, and tweaking it to a slightly different setting.
That’s partly why some of the film just feels a little rehashed. Its first act is undoubtedly its strongest, but it’s also the part of the film where everything sticks very closely to the plot of the original movie, moving through the exact same story beats at a very similar pace, and not really doing all that much to distinguish itself with its own energy and identity.
However, come the end of the film, it’s clear that sticking as close as possible to the original movie was a real necessity to provide some laughs and entertainment, as the following second and third acts are evidence for the lack of real imagination and intelligence in the screenplay here.
While The Noble Family grew and grew throughout, changing from a simple comedy to something with a really strong and heartfelt sense of morals, Malcriados does the opposite, becoming more and more generic as it moves through the story’s paces, and even deciding to ditch some of the original film’s strongest moments in favour of some painfully predictable, dull and shallow sequences.
That’s the thing that’s most disappointing for me. Although there are some fun moments in Malcriados (most of which are the same as in The Noble Family), it’s the lack of genuine emotion that really makes it fall so short of the mark.
The film’s performances don’t feature anywhere near the same level of depth as the Mexican original, and although the younger trio playing the spoilt children are occasionally fun to watch get into a couple of awkward situations, you never get the same feeling that there’s a family at stake in the story, and that there’s a father who is genuinely trying to teach his children something of worth.
Also, the character development is far too forced towards the end. Yes, it’s a little different from The Noble Family, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the film forces in some very abrupt character changes that could, and already have, been pulled off more organically.
Overall, I was disappointed by Malcriados. It’s not a horrific film, but when compared with the film it’s adapting, and only three years afterwards as well, it really falls short due to a shallow and often dull story that fails to stand out on its own, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.5.