The Other Side of the Bed is a half-charming, half-tiresome mélange of sex farce and musical numbers. Chronicling a week or so in the lives of two couples, a few of their friends, and the symmetrical partner-swapping that often characterizes any comedy with even a hint of a love triangle, the film results in a typical happy ending in which the sexual wrongs are righted. There are a few moments toward the end in which the true happiness of the relationships might be in doubt, but there’s nothing unusual there, either.
Paula (Natalia Verbeke) has just broken up with Pedro (Guillermo Toledo) because she is in love with Javier (Ernesto Alterio), who is one half of a couple that is friends with both. Javier’s other half is Sonia (Paz Vega), who runs a theater group whose lack of profit galls him to no end. One look at Sonia, though, and there’s no question that Javier is certifiably insane for even considering dumping her for Paula, who just can’t compare with Sonia’s incandescent looks. Javier must sense this as well, refusing every good opportunity to tell Sonia that he is leaving her and irritating Paula, who took the plunge first. That tends to be the fatal flaw in any affair, and this one doesn’t stray far from the norm.
Director Emilio Martinez-Lazaro makes an attempt at originality by employing musical interludes in which the characters sing silly Spanish pop songs to distract us from the movie proper. The songs and choreography are actually not bad, and they do serve their purpose. But they can’t make this movie anything other than a Spanish-inflected trifle.
A note on the production and sound design: Martinez-Lazaro uses a light and airy color scheme and keeps his sets free of clutter, both in background objects and background noises. The Other Side of the Bed is quite engaging to look at, which compensates for its very soap opera-esque shot selection and story.
Showing exclusively at the Star Great Lakes Crossing. Call 248-454-0366.
Erin Podolsky writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].