Tomás (Mauricio Ochmann) spirals into a midlife crisis when he discovers that his wife Marcia (Zuria Vega) has been cheating on him with Jero (Omar Chaparro), a taxi driver in Puerta Vallarta. Determined to exact revenge, Tomás tracks Jero down only to wind up injured and needing Jero’s help to drive him back to Mexico City. As the two men are forced to spend time together, Tomás desperately tries to keep his identity secret and he’s completely unaware that Jero is hiding secrets of his own.
‘Backseat Driver’ (Y como es él?) is a remake of the Korean comedy ‘Driving With My Wife’s Lover’ and it’s a screwball comedy that requires you to step outside the realms of reality and just go along for the ride (literally). The film’s twists and turns, of which there are many, are often hilarious and the film is a lot funnier than you might expect it’s going to be. In large part this is due to the chemistry between Mauricio Ochmann as Tomás and Omar Chaparro as Jero, with the two actors creating an unlikely bromance that you find yourself actually rooting for.
Tomás is pretty much hapless when we first meet him, concocting an ill-advised and poorly thought-out revenge plan against Jero. We see sequences of Tomás fantasising about how he might exact his revenge and those really escalate the comedy element of the film. Jero on the other hand isn’t just having an affair with Marcia, he’s got plenty of women on the go with no desire to enter into a full-time relationship with any of them. The two men couldn’t be more opposite but against their best attempts, they begin to grow fonder of one another as they get to know each other.
Perhaps where the film falters slightly is the inclusion of a sub-plot involving Jero being chased by gangsters. The point of it is to further bring the two men together and to show that Jero is far from the smooth lothario he portrays himself to be, but it takes the film slightly too far into silly territory. Still, I did find the sub-plot amusing even if it didn’t feel completely necessary.
The best thing about the film is undoubtedly the performances of Ochmann and Chaparro. They are absolutely brilliant together, and in their individual scenes. Ochmann convinces as a man on the brink of losing everything due to his thirst for revenge and he excels in the moments when his character struggles to achieve what he wants. Chaparro on the other hand oozes charisma and really sells Jero as a bit of a wide boy who uses his charm to get what he wants in life, even if that means misrepresenting who he is to get it.
‘Backseat Driver’ (Y como es él?) is a really entertaining film that will leave you with a big smile on your face. You can’t help but love both Tomás and Jero and that’s a huge credit to the two actors playing them. The film made me yearn for the days when cinema was a little more light-hearted and fun, and I haven’t seen a film like this in a long time. Watch it for the laughs and the chemistry, just don’t expect it to completely blow you away.
Cast: Mauricio Ochmann, Omar Chaparro, Zuria Vega, Miguel Rodarte Director: Ariel Winograd Writer: Paul Fruchbom Certificate: 12A Duration: 95 mins Released by: Pantelion Films Release date: 22nd April 2022