Starring: Karla Souza, Ricardo Abarca, Biassini Segura
Director: Gustavo Loza
Running Time: 113 mins
Don’t Blame The Kid (¿Qué Culpa Tiene el Niño?) is a Mexican film about a successful woman who unexpectedly finds herself pregnant, remembering a drunken one-night stand with the father. With various parties around her advocating different solutions, she eventually decides there is no choice but to move in with the man in question, but his immature nature creates problems.
This is in effect a film of two halves. On the one hand, you have a pretty entertaining (albeit moderately ridiculous) rom-com story about a woman having to cope with a random man before giving birth to his child. On the other, you have a slightly exaggerated and often very cheesy dramatic story about the two growing closer as the miracle of childbirth approaches. On the whole, the film isn’t all that bad, but one side of the story is definitely superior to the other.
And we’ll start with the better half: the one with a bit more humour and a far more light-hearted vibe. There are a lot of reasons that the lighter side of this story works so well, but it’s arguably the performances that’s the main success.
In the central role, Karla Souza is fantastically entertaining, portraying a somewhat stuck-up and rigid young woman, yet who’s not fully impervious to emotion. Her energetic turn throughout the movie makes her character real fun to watch, and she develops her character’s story (however cheesy it may get in the end) very convincingly throughout, proving the real star of the whole film.
Also, Souza works excellently with co-lead Ricardo Abarca, who plays the antithesis to this hard-working woman as a young university reject who lives with his mother. Although he’s never quite as entertaining or exciting to watch as Souza, the two play off each other well enough to make for a consistently enjoyable spectacle, and do great service to the film’s comedic side.
What’s more is that when it comes to the humour, the film’s screenplay is pretty strong. The farce of the situation that the two find themselves in makes for a good few laughs throughout, and the use of various side characters, particularly the well-off parents of Souza’s character, allow for a good variety of mishaps and misunderstandings to arise, giving the more generic rom-com side of the story a little more variety, which was nice to see.
Despite all that, however, the film really lets itself down when it comes to the more serious side of things. Now, don’t think that the film is trying to be a proper drama, because it really isn’t, however it is clear that it wants to tug at your heartstrings and showcase various cheesy tropes like the power of love, childbirth and more, and it just doesn’t come off all that smoothly.
For one, there are times when Abarca’s character is written as far too emotional in comparison to Souza, and it often feels like he’s just a bit of a softie, rather than someone who’s genuinely moved by all that’s happening in his life. Also, the film’s final act really goes overboard with the supposed grandiose emotional importance of these moments in the characters’ lives, and it makes for a rather unsatisfying conclusion to what is more often than not an entertaining romantic comedy.
On the whole, I did enjoy Don’t Blame The Kid, thanks to its excellent performances and comedic writing. However, its rather shmaltzy secondary story is more often than not a little overbearing, and makes for a frustrating watch at times, so that’s why I’m giving this a 7.1.