Brian Brophy, Elpidia Carrillo, Larry Carroll, Suzette Craft
MPAA: Rated R for language and brief sexuality.
DVD Technical Specs.
Format: Region 1 (US and Canada) Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
Sound: English (Digital Surround 5.1 or 2.0 Stereo)
Subtitle Track: Spanish
What if Californians woke up one morning to find that 1/3 of their population had mysteriously disappeared? This is the premise of the social satire, A Day Without A Mexican.Writer/director Sergio Arau combines mockumentary style news reports with a plot-driven story of how Californians face the greatest crisis in their state's history... the loss of their Mexicans!
While the concept is both potent and whimsical, the results of this experiment in "message comedy" are mixed. The message that Arau presents is essentially that Californians take their Latino workforce, both legal and illegal, for granted and grossly misunderstand their importance to the state's economy. Arau rightly determines that humor is a great way to communicate this and have it be remembered. Unfortunately, A Day Without a Mexican sinks to sit-com level, stereotypical clichés to deliver most of its laughs. After watching the film, instead of pondering the real-life implications of its original premise, I'm left wondering why Arau chose to extol the virtues of one ethnic group by degrading the intelligence of another.
Where A Day Without a Mexican does succeed is with the validity of its overall message. The informational and Unsolved Mysteries style report sequences of the film are very well done and quite funny. If Arau had taken a slightly more serious approach, leaving out the plot-driven aspects of the movie in favor of a pure satirical documentary, the impact of its socially conscious message would likely have been greatly strengthened.
So, while the comedy is hit and miss, A Day Without a Mexican does give a thought provoking glimpse into the importance of Mexican immigration to the prosperity of California. For that message alone, I recommend A Day Without a Mexican.
DVD Language Choice Screen: This screen features the A Day Without a Mexican title logo with choices for English or Spanish menu screens. Readily understandable DVD Menu Screens... another thing that non-Latinos take for granted!
Main Menu Screen: Made in the style of a news special report, complete with a headline crawl at the bottom of the screen! Choices are given for Play Movie, Audio Setup, Scene Selections, Special Features, and Spanish Subtitles or Empezar, Ajuste de Audio, Seleccion de Capitulos, Seleciones Especiales, y Subtitulos en Espanol
Behind... A Day Without a Mexican: This is a 45 minute making-of documentary, which includes interviews with the filmmakers and principle cast, as well as insight into what inspired them to make A Day Without a Mexican. Strangely enough, it's more informative on the subject of Mexican workers in California than the actual movie is!
Outtakes: Three deleted scenes from the film. If you want REAL outtakes, they're during the movie's end credits!
"Sin Decir Adios": A music video by Los Yoguis. Combines the group performing the song with scenes from the movie.
The Original Short: The short film that became A Day Without a Mexican.
Original Trailer: Self explanatory, really.
TV Spots: Two television commercials. Shorter variations on the original trailer.
Also from Xenon: Trailers for the movies Icemaker, Cake, Charlie's Angels (the TV dramatization about the original show), All Night Bodega, and Two Coyotes.
Overall a solid DVD presentation. The highlight, without a doubt, is the making-of documentary, Behind... A Day Without a Mexican.
A.J.'s DVD Rating: 2.5 Stars
November 10, 2004
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a day without a mexican
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From Xenon Pictures on DVD and VHS. Available in English with Spanish subtitles, in both English and Spanish packaging (Un Día Sin Méxicanos).