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ÃƒÂlex de la Iglesia
Guillermo Toledo……….Rafael Gonzalez
Luis Varela……….Don Antonio Fraguas
Enrique VillÃƒÂ©n……….Inspector Campoy
If there’s any one lesson that one can learn from the “Casanova” type of guy it is that there’s something to knock him on as his ass. Fonzy, Alfie, Don Juan and every other wannabe-lothario of the silver screen has something or someone to derail his lifestyle. And things are no different for Rafael Gonzalez (Guillermo Toledo) in the moderately funny El Crimen Perfecto.
He’s a sales rep for a major department store, head of the women’s section. Impeccably dressed and mannered, Rafael dreams of living the high life someday in the near future; for now, however, he’ll seduce and conquer every woman in his department. And Toledo is a good seducer and charismatic leading man, bringing a wonderful charm to the role. And that’s the key to the role is his charm; it’s no wonder how Rafael has so much luck with his co-workers. He has a built in advantage at the workplace.
Rafael gets to hire them all so he surrounds himself with the most beautiful women. He’s a good seducer and on his home turf, making it that much easier for him to cut a path into their panties with an inventive scheme. He seduces them in the dressing rooms (where he slips cash to the security guard to overlook his indiscretions), plays dress up with the formal wear and then proceeds to make a meal from the fine dining around, finally retiring to the latest of bedroom sets to finish the deed. It’s a charmed life until Rafael loses out on the one thing he wants: to be the manager.
He loses this to the delightfully evil Don Antonio (Luis Varela), his bitter rival. Rafael is humiliated by Antonio, and a brief struggle between the two results in Antonio’s demise. Rafael is scared of being accused of killing him on purpose and spending a lifetime in prison, having had an argument and a legitimate gripe against the man, takes the corpse into the basement to burn the body into a crisp. The body is too big and he manages to get the help of the ugliest woman in the store, Lourdes (MÃƒÂ³nica Cervera), she manages to help him cut the body up (she used to work for a butcher) and destroy the evidence for him on one condition: he becomes her lover.
She has had an unrequited love of Rafael, who goes along with this to a point. His intentions for a below the radar fling turn disastrous as Lourdes seizes the opportunity to demand a relationship. With his rival out of the way and a newfound promotion to manager, and uglier coworkers as she forces Rafael to eliminate his super-sexy staff with homely women and pushes him into a relationship he doesn’t want in any aspect. Cervera has a ball in the role, seizing the opportunity and genuine joy with her role as a blackmailer.
With his former life ruined, Rafael schemes to try and get out of it any manner possible. And thus he comes up with the idea of trying to eliminate his one loose end, Lourdes, while Inspector Campoy (Enrique VillÃƒÂ©n) gets wise and tries to find out the truth behind the disappearance of Don Antonio. And what starts out as well-intentioned affair suffers from the lack of a focused narrative and uneven comedy.
El Crimen Perfecto starts out with Rafael in an Alfie-like way, with Toledo addressing the camera in-between moments on screen. Toledo seems to be at his peak while he’s doing his best version of a Spanish Jude Law. But de la Iglesia doesn’t seem to keep this focus, turning away from having a narrative inspired by his lead and going away from this. He turns back to it on occasion, but the damage can’t be undone. Which is a bit of a disappointment as the comedy is intelligent and well-done for the most part.
It would be easy to go with low-brow, raunchy comedy with this sort of topic and plot, but give de la Igleisa some credit: he keeps the humor away from the gutter for the most part. There are lots of good chuckles and humorous moments, but there are few moments where the laughs are hard and plentiful.
There also isn’t a sympathetic line on either Lourdes or Rafael throughout the film. We are intended to feel bad for Lourdes, but she is painted in such an unsympathetic light compared to Rafael that his cruelty to her throughout falls flat.