By Gary Murray
Starring Jamie Camil, Laura Ramsey, Tom Arnold and Stockard Channing
Written by Issa Lopez, Georgina Riedel, Gabriel Ripstein and Oscar Orlando Torres
Directed by Pedro Pablo Ibarra
Running time 112 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating Matinee
Hispanic cinema has taken many great strides in the last few years. With the rise the immigrants from south of the border, the Latin influence has touched every part of the US. In the last sweeps period, Telemundo beat NBC in the ratings. So it would make financial sense for Hollywood to tap into this major market. Films like Pulling Strings are making headway in this direction.
The story is of Rachel (Laura Ramsey). She works granting visas for visitors wanting to come to the USA from Mexico. She is a line of defense between those who are tourists and those who are coming to stay.
As the film opens, she finds that she is to be transferred to London. It is the first step on the gypsy lifestyle that her deceased father traveled. Rachel’s mother Virginia (Stockard Channing) does not want her little girl to follow the path of her father. There is more to life than traveling the world.
Alejandro (Jamie Camil) is a widowed mariachi singer in Mexico City who struggles to make ends meet. He has decided to send his daughter to Arizona to live with her grandparents. Life as a singer is difficult and Alejandro has borrowed money from some nefarious characters. In order to do send his daughter away, he needs a visa.
At the beginning of the flick, he goes to the US government office and meets Rachel. She does not even look at him and denies his visa.
That day, Rachel’s boss Art (Tom Arnold) gives her the responsibility of his computer. It is full of ICE secrets imbedded inside. That night she goes to a big party and gets drunk. Alejandro and his mariachi group are the entertainment. She still has no idea who he is.
After the party, Alejandro finds Rachel passed out on a bench. He hatches an idea. He could ‘take’ her computer and claim she lost it. Then he could offer to help her find it, using his charms to woo a visa from her grasp.
The rest of Pulling Strings is of the thrown together couple growing close as they search the Mexican streets to retrieve the computer. For those who know the genre of the romantic comedy, they know where this will end.
The film is a picture postcard for Mexico tourism and Mexico City. Director Pedro Pablo Ibarra captures the city with a lovely touch. He makes the city vibrant and alive with a blend on modern touches and old world charms. The city almost becomes a character in the film, working its magical charm on the two ‘soon-to-be’ love birds.
Laura Ramsey has been knocking around Hollywood for a decade. This is a shining role for her. She is warm and bright while still being a bit standoffish at the beginning. Her role is a slow warming that utterly charms on the big screen. This is a role that should put her on the short list of romantic comic roles.
Jamie Camil is a big star in Mexico and Pulling Strings should make him a bigger star for the rest of the world. He has this winning smile that should bring him thousands of fans. He is sensitive but still a macho man, crafty but appealing. It is a lothario role that he revels in.
Pulling Strings is a sweet little romantic comedy that will never win any awards but will win the hearts of those yearning for another romantic comedy. It works better than most of the attempts in the last few years and is a refreshing diversion.