Starring: Patricio Castillo, Sergio Bustamente, Alejandro Suárez
Director: Alfonso Serrano Maturino
Running Time: 89 mins
Acapulco: La Vida Va is a Mexican film about three old friends who take a trip to a resort in sunny Acapulco to relive their younger days, however the holiday takes on a different significance when they discover the reason they are really there.
You know the score, a group of elderly friends take a trip back in time and try to relive their youth, despite all expectations towards them being completely the opposite. Hollywood has employed this formula more and more regularly over recent years, with the likes of Last Vegas, Going In Style and King Of Thieves among others, bringing together aged cinematic legends and turning back the clock by throwing them into a youthful and energetic story.
Unfortunately, more often than not, these films simply take older actors and write characters for them that act like 13 year olds, without even a semblance of real wisdom that anyone would have acquired over the course of a lifetime.
With the case of Acapulco: La Vida Va, however, our elderly leads may still have the energy and intention to wreak havoc as they did in their youth decades ago, but they also show strong maturity, wisdom and emotional depth that makes their characters both more interesting and far more convincing. They may attempt to act like young men once again, and in some regards succeed, but they also recognise their own age, and act accordingly as someone would in the real world.
And as a result, as well as the sillier, more juvenile comedy that’s often present in films with this premise, that emotional maturity allows the film to impress on a deeper level, with its strongest suit ultimately becoming its dramatic power, something that comes about in striking fashion in the latter stages.
First off, though, as far as the comedy goes, it’s simple and light-hearted enough to make you smile from time to time, even if it isn’t the world’s funniest. The three lead performances aren’t always spot on when it comes to delivering the idea of a group of old men really trying to relive their youth, and the actors never quite have the energy that the screenplay seems to expect from them, but that doesn’t stop their natural charisma and charm from making them thoroughly likable, and adding to the fun factor of the movie.
So, while Acapulco struggles in its opening stages to really deliver the energy and intrigue to really grab you, it has the light simplicity becoming of a film of this genre, and as a result, it endears you to a certain extent that proves very useful in the latter stages.
It’s the turn about halfway through that really makes this film work, as it shifts from that more generic and simplistic comedy-oriented premise to one that offers up a genuine and moving look into the lives and emotions of these three men as they take a look back at their youth, and assess where they are at the moment in their so-called ‘golden years’.
It may be fun and silly early on, but the way the film handles the transition to something that’s really very sentimental and often serious is hugely impressive, as it brings in stunning emotional depth in a really short timeframe that not only brings you even closer to the main characters, but hits home to a point that you might even shed a tear or two.
As a result, the truly special part about this film comes towards its finale, and with such genuine emotional power and drama on display, it’s certainly worth the wait, even if you’re not entirely endeared by the more humorous side to the story early on, and that’s why I’m giving Acapulco: La Vida Va a 7.7 overall.