Or something like that. I don’t know if he’s reviewed it or not. First, I have to say that I am shamefully ignorant of Mexican cinema (outside of seeing a little bit of, say, Sabado Gigante!). I absolutely adore Pan’s Labyrinth, but that’s a movie directed by a very talented Mexican, filmed and set in Spain. I did enjoy the comic stylings of Cantinflas in Around the World in Eighty Days (1956). Instructions Not Included (an apt title, but the actual translation of the Spanish title, No Returns Allowed, probably does it more justice) starts off as a comedy with farcical turns, but allows a substantial amount of darkness to enter as the film progresses.

We are introduced to the story by Johnny Bravo, a famous Acapulco cliff-diver, performing rituals with his eight-year-old son, Valentin, meant to rid the boy of fear. Bravo has him anthropomorphize fear when exposed to spiders, to heights, to sleeping in a mausoleum- into wolves, which Valentin can then chase away with a growl. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Those wolves make several appearances in the movie, taking the form of fears that Valentin didn’t know he had.

After a falling out with his father (probably over his questionable parenting methods), Valentin goes out on his own, ultimately becoming the biggest, most hedonistic, mooochingiest, not-paying-attention-to-the-rules-of-safe-sex-at-all-ingnest playboy in Acapulco. And the luckiest, too. find incredibly beautiful women in Mexican movies. Or Mexican soaps.