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Review: Half Brothers

Luis Gerardo Mendez and Connor Del Rio star in Focus Features' HALF BROTHERS

Half Brothers kind of snuck up on me. Not only had I not heard of it until a week or two before its release, but it managed to be somewhat different than what I had anticipated. Sure, I knew it would be a comedy, but what’s here is smoother and funnier than I expected.

Here, we meet Renato (Luis Gerardo Mendez), a successful Mexican aviation executive who reluctantly travels to America to see the ailing father he hasn’t heard from since childhood. Once there, he meets Asher (Connor Del Rio), the half-brother he never knew about. Things don’t start off well between them, but their father hopes a road trip he convinces them to take will help them bond and answer any questions they may have.

Right when we meet him, you know that Asher is going to provide the vast majority of the comedy. His character and approach to life blend well with Renato and his abrasive yet professional nature. Of course, having these two types of personalities here is done to create the conflict that will help carry the movie.

Ultimately, it drives a lot of what we see here and creates opportunities for us to laugh at Asher’s antics. Although most of it is sophomoric and unbelievable, the comedy that he brings does work. I think that’s because of they way he portrays the character. Throughout, there’s a level of innocence there even though it could just be masking the high levels of immaturity.

If Connor Del Rio tried too hard with these kinds of jokes, it would have likely fell flat. Instead, he’s able to give you someone to root for in spite of flaws that would be unbearable to deal with in real life. Renato doesn’t have those qualities. He’s meant to be rigid and cold for reasons that help the movie get to where it needs to be in terms of his journey and the overall story.

Not only do the two main characters blend well, but the script does a good job of mixing things in as well. One of the key elements in Half Brothers is the real-life struggles that some people have when coming to America under illegal circumstances. They get that to mesh well with a story of fathers and sons. The political messaging in this one is heavy-handed, but it never overpowers or overshadows anything else here.

When looking over the movie as a whole, they could have gone too far in a number of different directions. However, they showed restraint as they managed to maintain proper balance. That’s something you don’t usually anticipate from comedies like this. I wish more comedies were able to accomplish this. It seems that most rely too much on the extremes.

Half Brothers doesn’t provide you with the comedy that will have you laughing until you cry, but there are a number of consistently funny moments that will likely have you cracking up. For that alone, I’m happy that I took the chance to watch this. Especially these days, finding a reason to laugh is important and maybe even necessary.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Luke Greenfield

Screenwriters:
Eduardo Cisneros
Jason Shuman

Cast:
Luis Gerardo Mendez
Connor Del Rio
Juan Pablo Espinosa
Bianca Marroquin

Film Length: 96 minutes

Release Date: December 4, 2020

Distributor: Focus Features

  • 7/10
    Score - 7/10
7/10
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