Coming to theatres from director Eugene Derbez and Pantelion Films is a story about dealing with life especially with INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED.
This film tells the story of Valentin (Eugene Derbez), a man from Acapulco who grew up with a father who tried to teach him not to fear anything. In the process it taught him to fear the biggest thing – life. Living the bachelor life as a Latin-lover of sorts all catches up to him.
One day a bundle of fear is dropped at his doorstep as little Maggie comes to stay with him. Figuring out that the mother Julie (Jessica Lindsey) lives in Los Angeles, he takes a road trip with Maggie to the United States to take Maggie back. Finally getting across the border and by a twist of fate he falls for his daughter.
And, he gets a job as a stuntman by Frank Ryan (Daniel Raymont) that offers him a chance to take care of Maggie. Now seven years old, Maggie (Loreto Peralta) is a wonderful little girl and the joy of his life. So not to explain the circumstance, Valentine writes letters to the young girl signed by ‘her mother’.
Julie eventually reappears introducing both Valentin and her daughter to her partner Rene (Alessandro Rosaldo). Maggie’s mother exposes Valentin in family court as an irresponsible parent trying to take the little girl away.
What no one knows is that Valentin has a secret that can change everything!
FINAL WORD: Derbez as Valentin is an ocean of brilliance! From goofy, irresponsible young man to a grown man who finally understands the lessons of his youth by a youth. To be totally honest the first 20 minutes of the film I wasn’t sure which way I was going to go because of the silliness. Of course the tables were flipped on my emotions!
Directing and starring in the film seems daunting to most people but Derbez made it look effortless. Not relying on cgi, fancy shots or grand settings – Derbez instead goes straight to a character driven film that has such great humor and serious emotions, and doesn’t go about it half way either.
Along with the writing team of Guillermo Rios and Leticia Lopez Margalli, Derbez takes a small budget and brings to the screen a film with a large reach across language barriers delivering heart and soul to the audience!
Peralta as the little girl Maggie is smart, funny, creative and absolutely delightful. Living in a fantasy world created by her father and teased by her classmates, this little actress tugs at the heart. Caught between a mother she doesn’t really know and a father who adores her – it isn’t easy being in the middle of crazy adults.
Lindsey as Julie is a character that’s exactly what I’d expect. A mother who leaves her child and then comes back later to claim reward for doing nothing drives me nuts! (And don’t think me sexist because a father character that would do this drives me nuts too!) Her attitude and air of superiority leave me cold. Rosaldo as lover Rene is another character that I look at the screen and want to slap the crap out of her. Over acting and melodramatic are the high characteristics of both these women.
Other cast include: Hugo Stiglitz as Johnny Bravo, Sammy Perez as Sammy, Arcelia Ramirez as Judesiy, Agustin Bernal as Lupe, Karla Souza as Jackie, Margarita Wynne as Sofia, and Arap Bethke as Abogado Valentin.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED four tubs of popcorn out of five. This is the type of film I would have no problem taking my family to see because of its depth of emotion. There are so many life lessons here that I couldn’t even begin to talk about them all.
This film turns quickly into a sweet and tender story of a man who needed a reason to face his fears and come to understand those life lessons. Keeping the wolves at bay instead of embracing a furry friend is an image I am not likely to forget for a very long time.
Derbez calls on his audience to face their own fears and embrace until the heart felt end the beauty of the moments that scare us the most.
In the end – life doesn’t care if you are ready!
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