Sometimes you see artwork for a movie and you think you can tell exactly what you’re in for. That was the case when presented with the DVD cover artwork for the new action-comedy Compadres. Even the plot description sells what you’re imagining from the artwork:
Two unlikely compadres make an unbeatable team in this action-comedy filled with high-octane thrills and outrageous laughs. Tough-as-nails Mexican cop Garza wants justice after a ruthless cartel kingpin frames him and kidnaps his girlfriend — but he’ll need the help of a 17-year-old American computer hacker named Vic. As cultures clash and an FBI agent closes in, the relentless cop and the computer geek race to bring down the crime boss. The laugh-out-loud comedy stars Omar Chaparro, one of the biggest comedians in Mexico and hugely popular with Hispanic audiences in the US; Joey Morgan, Eric Roberts, and Kevin Pollak.
So that description and the cover of the DVD spelled a few laughs in my mind. Boy, was I wrong. Compadres is more cop drama than outrageous comedy. I’m surprised that Chaparro is billed as a comedian because he’s definitely more of an action star in the film (and a lot of the “jokes” are aimed at his height, or lack of). The film also has a lot of drama as Garza is discredited and dismissed from the police department, then goes on a sort of one-man vigilante/revenge mission to take down the Mexican mob and save his kidnapped, pregnant girlfriend — and the plot isn’t very clear on how long Garza has known the woman. It appears they meet, spend the night together, she’s his girlfriend the next morning … and pregnant! A lot of the movie had these gaps in time where you have no idea what’s happening (although you do occasionally get a flashback to put all the pieces together). Most of the movie is also in Spanish, with subtitles, until Vic (played by Joey Morgan) is introduced.
Morgan, who played a memorable teen in his 2015 film debut Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, seems to be much older than the 17-year-old he’s playing but he gives his all with what he has to work with. Unfortunately, too much of the humor is sophomoric and just not funny. There are also odd cameo appearances by Kevin Pollak, who at least has a pivotal role in the plot, and Eric Roberts as an FBI field agent who just shows up out of the blue here and there throughout the movie. He must have owed someone a favor. The rest of the cast is made up of Mexican actors who will be mostly unknown to American audiences. Some of them are terrible stereotypes, as if the movie was made by Americans who only knew Mexicans from a Speedy Gonzalas cartoon.
But, perhaps the negative reaction to the movie is due mainly to the fact that it’s being sold as a rip-roaring comedy, and that it is not. Going in to the movie just accepting it as a cop drama may afford a viewer a more enjoyable experience. Chaparro does not get to prove the hype about being a top comedian, but he does have the charisma to pull of the tough, brooding, action hero role, basically carrying the movie on his shoulders. If there is any recommendation to give Compadres, it’s Chaparro’s performance. If you want some laughs while viewing the movie, you might want to whip up a batch of margaritas.
The DVD contains no extras.
Lionsgate generously provided Hotchka with a DVD copy of the film for reviewing purposes.