Current Issue #488

Film Review:
Mutiny of the Worker Bees
(Rebelión de los Godínez)

Carlos Morett’s feature début is a cluttered yet often pleasing character comedy with too much plot and globs of satire that don’t quite work despite oodles of show-off flashiness.

Still, there’s enough here to enjoy anyway, even though some Mexican critics and commentators apparently disapprove greatly of such silliness, and believe that country’s film industry should be turning out ponderous dramas about grimly heavy contemporary themes. Just like here in Australia!

Omar Buendía (Gustavo Egelhaaf) is introduced dressed as a cartoony character named ‘Phony’, but although he’s racking up plenty of hits online (to the tune of a horribly-synthesised cover of Stayin’ Alive), his grumpy grandad Abuelo (Alejandro Suárez) sabotages the performance. When Abuelo later survives a heart attack, Omar realises that he needs to get a proper job to pay for healthcare, and somehow wrangles a position at a tech company full of oh-so-familiar types.

On his first day he meets almost all of them: scary superiors Tania Davich (Bárbara de Regil) and her sleazy brother Roberto (Mauricio Argüelles); office slackers Hugo (Cesar Rodriguez) and Quique (Carlos Macias Marquez); and Tania’s sweet if put-upon assistant Maribel (Anna Carreiro, who has an Anna Kendrick vibe). He also runs into kindly big boss Braulio (Fernando Becerril) in the elevator, and after a minor emergency, the old man grants him the chance to develop an app which he intends to be (gasp!) free.

All this is moderately convoluted, but things take a more messy turn when Omar and Maribel start falling for each other after a mystifyingly-unsubtitled karaoke night, and thereafter there’s blackmail, deceit and indeed the mutiny/rebelión of the title, which is set to a horribly-synthesised version of In The Hall Of The Mountain King.

Amiable work from Egelhaaf and Carreiro help save this from itself, and they’re cute enough to help you see past the jumbled scripting and all of director (and co-writer and co-producer) Morett’s cinematic trickeries. The endless graphics and animations as Omar talks directly to camera, for example, are pretty distracting, and almost make you think that he’s secretly some sort of Terminator.

It’s also possible that this is the wrong time for this wannabe-corporate-skewering comedy and jokes about tedious 9-5 office jobs. After all, there are thousands of people out there who would currently kill for a tedious 9-5 office job – but that’s another movie, Señor.

Reviewer Rating

Mutiny Of The Worker Bees (M) is now streaming on Netflix

DM Bradley

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