A big hit on its home turf I had concerns that VILLAVIVICIOSA DE AL LADO /A Stroke of Luck may not travel - a bawdy comedy where the people talk sex but there’s no nudity. I hate those. However the energy, nice score, bright colours and expert farceurs headed by mayor Arturo Valls and brothel madam Carmen Machi (from a couple of Almodovars and more significantly Álex de la Iglesia’s MI GRAN NOCHE and El BAR) all are on target.
Plot developments start formula predictable. In the small rural Spanish town Villaviciosa the one industry is a run-down spa, failing until a syndicate lottery win offers salvation. Trouble is the local husbands bought the ticket in the Club Mementos whorehouse and their wives will get to know if they claim. Farcical plots to get the cash cumulate in the Good Friday procession of the Holy Virgin.
Throw in a lesson in faking orgasms and a chase on tractors which only go 40 m.p.h. A few of the characters get to be quite involving like young Macarena García who offers an appealing alternative to the locksmith’s zumba class organiser fiancée or the gay of the village and his mum, delighted to find she is part of the new morality. The film’s mean spirit proves to have an unexpected tilt.
The African priest manoeuvred onto breaking successive commandments gets more sympathy than the Madrid leftist who dragged his wife out of the big city to the dim backwater. The Guardia Civil officer proves to be the only one who has a genuine moral compass, which is certainly a shift in Spanish popular entertainment.
Director Nacho G. Velilla has a backlog of these and I’d like to see some more.