Originally posted at 7:35 p.m. Sept. 28, 2013.
Even when everybody thought that it would be a sure flop because it is an international film with little publicity, opening in only a small amount of theaters, this film has prevailed -- making it one of the most successful international movies of all time.
Don't be fooled by the trailer. It has that obvious “bad-guy-turns-into-good-dad” storyline. But, this movie stands to show that you should never judge a movie by its trailer.
The viewers first meet Valentín (Eugenio Derbez), a man who never expects to be in love and settle down with one woman, never mind having a child. After one of his many girlfriends comes to the door and drops off a baby girl, fatherhood is thrust upon the unlikely father.
This film also raises the pressing issue of immigration, especially from Mexico to the USA. Valentín tries to find the mother of this baby girl in Los Angeles, and this is where he embarks on a journey of a lifetime.
The movie has a mystery that the audience is always trying to figure out, with an unbelievably shocking ending ... which will remain a mystery here.
In addition to the incorrect assumption that the plot line is uninteresting, the film has another obstacle to courting moviegoers -- it comes with subtitles. But do not fret English speakers. The subtitles disappear in the humor and action of the film, and 15 minutes in, you are fully immersed. The subtitles seem to vanish.
The acting and directing was strong for the most part, with a young and lively style that appears after Maggie (Loreto Peralta) is born, so it fits the film perfectly.
I loved just about everything about the film: the costumes, the topics, the unexpected twists; but, the acting and some weak lines could have been stronger. So, I would give Instructions Not Included a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
This film is still playing in theaters near you, including the Regency Theatres San Juan Capistrano.