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Featured DVD Review: Immigration Tango

June 25th, 2011

Immigration Tango - Buy from Amazon

Immigration Tango opened earlier in the year with disastrous reviews and a per theater average that was well below the Mendoza Line. Granted, it's a romantic comedy, which is a genre that generally doesn't do well with critics or in limited release. So was this an unfair result? Will the film perform better on the home market?

The Movie

The film focuses on the lives of two couples living in the Miami area. Betty (Ashley Wolfe) is studying to be a lawyer and as she gets closer to graduating, and her student loans build up. This causes stress in her relationship with her and her boyfriend, Mike (McCaleb Burnett) who is also a student, but since he's on a full scholarship and his parents are paying his half of the rent, he has a lot less stress working on his dissertation. The other couple is Elena (Elika Portnoy) a Russian immigrant who recently graduated but is having trouble finding a job, and needs one to stay in the country. Her boyfriend, Carlos (Carlos Leon) is a Colombian immigrant and a chef, but Elena is pushing him to become more.

Their situation becomes dire when Elena goes to a job interview and it goes poorly. (The interviewer offers her the job in exchange for sex, and she knees him in the balls.) He gets his revenge by calling immigration on her. She still has some time on her visa, but it's only 20 days and she and Carlos get desperate enough to try a fake marriage to stay in the country. Elena will marry Mike, while Carlos will marry Betty. What could go wrong?

Well, for starters, an immigration officer, Ms. Ravencourt (Avery Sommers), could become very interested in the case and start poking around. Then instead of just signing a few papers and going back to their old lives, they have to live with each other and really act like they are married. Then things get worse, as Mike and Elena and Betty and Carlos start to fall in love.

More than once while thinking about a way to describe this film, I accidentally wrote situation comedy instead of romantic comedy. And quite frankly, that's sums up the quality quite nicely. It's a really lazy, sitcom quality romantic comedy. The chemistry between the leads is not enough to carry the film, the dialogue isn't snappy or witty, and some of the humor feels incredible dated. (Going with Cold War jokes isn't helping the sense of Deja Vu when you have a film full of Romantic Comedy Clich├ęs.)

It's a shame, as the premise had real potential and had it explored the political ramifications of the immigration debate, it could have been a really smart film. As it is, it's not as bad as its Tomatometer Score would indicate, but it is merely average even in its best moments.

The Extras

The DVD has an audio commentary track with the star / producer, Elika Portnoy; Jorge Kreimer, the associate producer; and Misha Tenebaum, the film editor. It's a little too low key for me and it didn't really hold my attention.

The Verdict

I think the nicest thing you could call Immigration Tango is sadly average. The DVD does have an audio commentary track, which is a pleasant surprise, but even if you are a hardcore fan of the genre, renting it might be too much.

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Filed under: Video Review, Immigration Tango