Movie review – The Noble Family: Family from hell

2014-09-21 15:00

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Mexico’s highest-grossing film ever is perfect for South Africans, writes Gayle Edmunds

Film: The Noble Family (Cine Centre)

Director: Gary Alazraki

Featuring: Gonzalo Vega, Karla Souza, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Juan Pablo Gil and Ianis Guerrero


It is little wonder the folks who are distributing the Mexican film Nosotros los Nobles, or The Noble Family, wanted to remake it for the South African market.

It’s perfect for translation in every way. Like South Africa, Mexico has a giant wealth gap – an elite class that knows nothing about how the other four-fifths live.

Unfortunately, the Americans saw the gap and snaffled the remake rights. Never mind, the Mexican version is pretty funny and the message gets through in the subtitles: hard work and a bit of hustle does everyone a whole lot of good. It is Mexico’s biggest-grossing film in history, so it strikes the right Mexican note for sure.

German Noble (Gonzalo Vega) is a rich, successful widower, but his children have turned out spoiled and feckless. His eldest son, Javi (Luis Gerardo Méndez), is always hatching a crazy scheme to get rich quick, schemes that dad must bankroll; his daughter, Barbara, is about to marry a playboy with a blond flick and a roving eye; and his youngest son has a habit of sleeping with his professors and telling lies. With no responsibility comes great uselessness, it seems.

German decides to teach them a lesson, so he stages the downfall of his empire and bundles the three off to a down-market neighbourhood where he grew up to learn that life isn’t all Porsches, platinum cards and private jets.

The opposite of the three Noble children is Lucho (Ianis Guerrero), their housekeeper’s nephew, who helps them get settled in the “ghetto” and finds work for them. It’s clear from the get-go that he’s the kind of man Barbara should be marrying and so the stage is set for romance and plenty of slapstick.

Those who are fans of the TV network Telemundo will recognise these actors from the small screen, and newcomer director Gary Alazraki’s film offers a fantasy comeuppance to those awful millennial party kids who flash their bling on social media and seem to be trapped in a bubble of ignorance. Alazraki pops that bubble – and has great fun along the way! The Noble Family has taken more than a year to get to us, but it offers a welcome change from the usual Hollywood comedy.

Also, look out for Coco the cat. One of the film’s financiers, weirdly, is Whiskas cat food and there’s some amusing product placement and a very pointed “learning to love cats” message that is hilarious.

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