‘The Weasels’ Tale’ Review: House Hunting

Schemers meet their match in “The Weasels’ Tale,” Juan José Campanella’s crowd-pleasing Argentine comedy. A former diva, Mara (grande dame Graciela Borges), shares a rambling remote mansion with her milquetoast husband, Pedro (Luis Brandoni), and two suave parasites she used to make movies with: a director, Norberto (Oscar Martínez), and a screenwriter, Martín (Marcos Mundstock). They pass the time trading reminiscences and barbs, until a slick city couple, Bárbara (Clara Lago) and Francisco (Nicolás Francella), show up and angle to buy the property.

The housemate dysfunction might be sad if it wasn’t played for laughs. Mara is frozen in her starry past, and Norberto and Martín treat her and Pedro with self-aggrandizing nostalgia or contempt. But Campanella, who directed the Oscar-winning 2010 thriller “The Secret in Their Eyes,” sets up a routine of look-at-them-go one-upmanship. Would-be villains Bárbara and Francisco look plain by comparison. (The older actors are fixtures of Argentine cinema, and the movie remakes a 1976 premise; Mundstock, who died in April, was a well-liked humorist.)

Norberto and Martín, professional cynics, spin their own plots to stymie the young swindlers, and the movie leans on our delectation in this. The Grand Guignol conclusion does fulfill the flair promised by the film’s tuned-up colors and by Mara’s vintage posters for her movies, which have glorious titles like “The Other Woman Forever.” There’s an attempt to reinvigorate the romance between Mara and Pedro, but that pales next to the bad behavior of their less savory companions. You can’t keep a good weasel down.

The Weasels’ Tale
Not rated. In Spanish, with subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 9 minutes. In theaters and on virtual cinemas. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.

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