ONLY HUMAN (Teresa de Pelegri and Dominic Harari). 89 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (July 7). For venues and times, see Movies, page 99. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
Destined to be called the bastard love child of Pedro Almodóvar and Woody Allen, this Spanish farce is merely a politically incorrect sitcom writ large. But just because the direction lacks Almodóvar's depth and the script Allen's wit doesn't mean Teresa de Pelegri and husband Dominic Harari 's film can't be fun.
When Leni ( Marián Aguilera ) brings her bumbling Palestinian fiancé, Rafi ( Guillermo Toledo ), home to meet her eccentric Jewish family, everything promptly goes to hell. After sitting through the obligatory suicide bomber jokes, we learn the blind grandfather enjoys loading his rifle, the brother's a religious zealot, and a frozen block of soup can be an instrument of death and destruction.
With a script peppered with predictable twists and every Jewish-parents- are-meshuga joke, the film shouldn't work as well as it does. But the skilled camera work and confined setting of the apartment allow de Pelegri and Harari to take an intimate approach to the characters, and the ensemble cast gels quickly.
The story loses momentum in the third act, and the ending leaves everything far too tidy for the chaotic mess that precedes it, but the first hour is charming enough to make you enjoy the fact that these are someone else's relatives and not yours.