El Juego de la Verdad (2004) / Comedy-Romance
aka The Truth and Other Lies
aka Truth or Dare
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but would probably be R for some nudity, sexuality, and language
Running Time: 87 min.
Cast: Oscar Jaenada, Natalia Verbeke, Tristan Ulloa, Maria Esteve
Director: Alvaro Fernandez Armero
Screenplay: Alvaro Fernandex Armero, Roberto Santiago
Review published September 16, 2006
El Juego de la Verdad is a Spanish romantic comedy about two couples, the successful, soon-to-wed Alberto (Ulloa, Sex and Lucia) and Susana (Verbeke, Jump Tomorrow), and the nearly jobless, barely-holding-together Ernesto (Jaenada, Noviembre) and Lea (Esteve, Dias de Futbol). Through a mishap at the hospital, Ernesto is misdiagnosed as having a fatal brain tumor, which, according to the doctor, gives him only three months left to live. He accepts his fate and begins to live the rest of his life without caring for the consequences, finding that telling the truth can sometimes turn one's fear of failure into bold successes. His reputation at his job escalates, and one night while playing a game of "spin the bottle", Ernesto reveals that his one wish before he dies is to sleep with his best friend Alberto's fiancée, Susana. After this revelation, everything in the relationship of the two couple's changes, with Alberto and Lea bitter, Susana uncertain, and Ernesto anxious.
Interestingly, both Verbeke and Esteve were prominent in a similar film about swapping couples, The Other Side of the Bed. Although this comedy of errors is mild and relatively predictable, for its short duration, it does offer up enough entertainment for those that enjoy sexy, romantic comedies that never delve deep enough for us to care about the obvious contrivances. Solid casting in their respective parts helps, with amusing characterizations, engaging situations, and a main premise of "will they or wont they?" that should keep the attention of most viewers throughout. It's not what I would call laugh-out-loud funny, but it's pleasant and witty, and at under 90 minutes with no heavy moments, doesn't outstay its welcome by taking itself seriously. It's a familiar formula, but it works.
©2006 Vince Leo