'Only Human'

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Only Human
Written and directed by
Dominic Harari and Teresa De Pelegri
Magnolia, opens June 16

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A Spanish dinner-theater comedy, this intermittently hilarious contraption by the husband- wife team of Dominic Harari and Teresa De Pelegri heaves Jewish-Palestinian conflict onto a prop-room table already groaning with loaded guns, impromptu sex toys, a wounded duck paddling in a bidet, and a brick of frozen soup that doubles as a sandbag for unlucky pedestrians below. The dominoes start toppling when Leni (Marián Aguilera) brings Palestinian professor Rafi (Guillermo Toledo, from the underrated Perfect Crime) home to meet her fractious Jewish family without warning them of his ethnicity; a misadventure with the soup triggers round after round of escalating humiliations, as Rafi's attempt to cover up one disaster leads to something worse. The movie eventually stretches its complications past the snapping point, especially once the action unwisely moves outside the family's apartment. But Leni's mother (Norma Aleandro) has a priceless suspicious deadpan to greet Rafi's every embarrassment; it's been a long time since a movie got this much comic mileage out of the devalued reaction shot.

 
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