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A Lider Films release (in Spain) of an Aurum Producciones/El Paso production, with participation of Canal Plus, Antena 3 TV. (International sales: Aurum, Madrid.) Produced by Francisco Ramos.

Directed by Fernando Colomo. Screenplay, Colomo, Julio Carrillo. Camera (color), Livio Delgado; editor, Miguel Angel Santamaria; music, Jose Maria Vitier, Mariano Matin. Reviewed at Malaga Film Festival, Spain, June 5, 1999. Original title: Cuarteto de la Habana. Running time: 105 MIN.

With: Ernesto Alterio, Mirtha Ibarra, Javier Camara, Laura Ramos, Daisy Granados, Mafia Esteve, Monica Cano.

Though it has all the fizz and brightness of a rum and Coke, prolific helmer Fernando Colomo's Caribbean comedy lacks distinctive flavor. Colomo has done good work before, but "Havana Quartet" is little more than a catalog of comedy cliches, with a few amusing one-liners, and shows him doing what comes easily for him, without stretching. Despite helmer's rep ("The Butterfly Effect"), offshore buyers outside Latin America are unlikely to take interest.

Madrid-based jazz musician Walther (Ernesto Alterio) flees Spain for Cuba after seeing a video in which Lita (Mirtha Ibarra) tells him she is his long-lost mother. On the plane he meets Segis (Javier Camara), who tells Walther that he is due to be married to Diana (Laura Ramos), Lita's daughter by another man--and therefore Walther's haft-sister. Walther and Diana fall for each other. Handheld lensing attempts to lend verisimilitude to these implausibilities. Ibarra as the mother and Daisy Granados as a nosy neighbor stand out, while Camara, a good comic talent, is not allowed to show it here. Alterio is just flat.

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Author:Holland, Jonathan
Date:Jun 21, 1999
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