PERFECT CRIME (CRIMEN PERFECTO) (Alex de la Iglesia). Subtitled. 98 minutes. Opens Friday (November 18). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN Rating: NN
This mildly amusing black comedy wants to be a satire on consumerism and trendiness, but its story fails to support its view, so it never really hits a nerve.
Rafael ( Guillermo Toledo ) manages the ladies' wear department in a large, conservative Madrid department store. He's king of his little domain, bedding all his pretty co-workers and lusting after tastefully chic possessions. Think Alfie with pretensions of gentility. The bubble bursts when a hated rival gets a coveted promotion. Murder ensues, which places him in the clutches of his homely co-worker Lourdes. She's a tasteless horror, sexually insatiable and utterly ruthless.
It's obvious that he'll have to murder her, too, but it takes a long time for him to figure that out. Meanwhile, he's forced to fire his pretty bedmates and put up with her drab, normal family.
With Acción Mutante (1993) and Perdita Durango (1997), Alex de la Iglesia showed he can be an energetic and outrageous director. Here, he seems to be coasting in first gear, content with television-style shooting and acting.
Only Mónica Cervera as Lourdes brings any verve to the screen. She and Toledo are funny together, and the script offers a few good set pieces. But the second-act sagginess and simple-minded chic-vs.-kitsch dichotomy sabotage what might have been a very lively comedy.