El Segundo Aire (A Second Chance) Review
College professor Julia (Lisa Owen) finds that the passion has gone out of her marriage. Her husband, Moisés (Jesús Ochoa) is now more interested in watching re-runs of the football match on their bedroom television. Word of warning – when your wife throws something at you for being more interested in football, it isn’t a good idea to act out a save by the goalkeeper. Moisés is a real estate developer on the brink of signing a major deal, but there are some ecological concerns that have to be worked out – or steamrolled over. Julia is horrified by her husband’s betrayal of the ethics she always admired him for and for his lack of romance. She finds both these attributes in one of her college students, the rugged but dim pretty-boy, eco-warrior Ricardo (Jorge Poza).
A Second Chance is utter banality told TV-movie soap-style with lots of farcical situations, thin characterisation and bad acting. Lisa Owen is the worst culprit here, acting out discomfort and sexual frustration around her young student with exaggerated gestures and dreamy eyes as he reads her erotic poetry. Cue, of course, lots of “unexpected” moments, such as her husband’s early return home from work, misplaced undergarments and compromising rolls of film getting mixed-up.
It’s hard to like any of the characters or sympathise with any of their situations – they are all well-off, upper-middle class yuppies motivated by greed, lust and stupidity, who lie and cheat to keep up their appearances and lifestyle, predictably only coming to their senses again by the end of the film. But I’m making the film sound serious when it is anything but. It’s supposed to be a simple sex-comedy, not to be taken at all seriously, so how much you will like this will depend on your tolerance for this type of farcical running around. I admit there are some funny moments when Moisés tries to run Ricardo down in his car, getting out to check first if he has done any damage to his car before checking on Ricardo. The resultant outcome is the young student having to spend a few days at Julia and Moisés house – an uncomfortable situation where Julia and Ricardo have to keep pretending there is nothing between them, but also a situation where Moisés’ secret plans for environmental destruction are at risk of being uncovered. It’s that kind of film, nothing new and nothing you won’t have seen done better elsewhere.
Released as part of Wave 4 of Fox’s Cinema Latino collection, A Second Chance, released alongside the Mexican films Life Kills and Sex, Shame and Tears marks a significant decline in quality from the likes of The City of no Limits, Fausto 5.0 and Pantaléon y las Visitadoras. There must surely be better Latino films available for Fox to put out than these TV-movie quality titles. Each release comes in two editions, both identical in terms of content, with only a choice of Spanish or English titles on the cover.
There is a faint hint of grain in the 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, but it thankfully takes away from the otherwise TV-movie quality of the film. There are occasional dustspots and marks, but nothing really worth mentioning, since it doesn’t distract at all. There are one or two signs of compression artefacting, but again not to any extent that it is a noticeable problem. Very mild edge-enhancement similarly can be seen only if you are looking for it. Overall, it’s a strong, clear image with good colour, brightness and contrast levels.
The Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio is clear, audible and solid throughout. An English 2.0 dub is also provided, which sounds horrible at first listen, but you could actually get used to it in a film like this.
English and Spanish subtitles are provided and translate reasonably well. The only real value I got from this DVD though was switching off the subtitles and practicing my Spanish comprehension, and the Mexican Spanish is fairly easy to follow.
There are no extra features on the DVD.
The best thing I can say about A Second Chance is that it is better than either of the two other Wave 4 Cinema Latino titles released by Fox. It’s a lightweight, farcical, sex-comedy that’s short on originality and laughs – the kind of thing you can find done much better elsewhere. The barebones DVD looks good and is presented-well, without extra features, but with good options for the English language or Hispanic viewer.