A la Mala

A la Mala

2015, NR, 93 min. Directed by Pedro Pablo Ibarra. Starring Aislinn Derbez, Mauricio Ochmann, Papile Aurora, Daniela Schmidt, Luis Arrieta, Juan Diego Covarrubias.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Feb. 27, 2015

In 2013, Pedro Pablo Ibarra directed the wildly popular Spanish-language romantic comedy Pulling Strings, so it’s little surprise that this Mexican director’s follow-up film is another romantic comedy. A la Mala is another contemporary confection with a polished technical sheen and it features a fine central performance by Aislinn Derbez as Mala. The story, however, is thoroughly predictable, and despite an original setup, the movie never rouses the emotions.

Mala is a beautiful yet struggling young actress, who makes her rent money by flirting with other women’s boyfriends to test the men’s faithfulness. Hired by the women (whose bottom-line assumption is that all men are creeps), Mala grows in reputation as word of her valuable services spread. No man proves immune to her ploys, and her acting skills get practical experience with each passing seduction. (Where the struggling actress’ extensive wardrobe comes from is a question the movie never addresses.) Then Mala is faced with an agonizing choice: the promise of a career-making role if she will aggravate the producer’s ex-boyfriend Santiago (Ochmann) by goading him to fall in love with her and then dropping him cold. Everything is fine until, of course, Mala falls in love with Santiago. What’s a poor career girl to do?

A la Mala coasts on its style and charm, and that may be enough for this kind of romp. Mala’s roommates Kika (Aurora) and Pablo (Arrieta) provide enjoyable interludes as something of a Greek chorus to Mala’s dilemma. Nevertheless, a bit more originality in the script by Issa López and Ari Rosen would be a welcome diversion.

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More Pedro Pablo Ibarra Films
Ya Veremos
Mexican rom-com puts family first

Aug. 31, 2018

Pulling Strings
This bilingual romantic comedy hopes to follow in the footsteps of the U.S. box-office sensation Instructions Not Included.

Louis Black, Oct. 4, 2013

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Maltese midlife crisis comedy is a pleasant if undemanding jaunt

Sept. 23, 2022

The Silent Twins
True story of siblings gives little insight into their inner lives

Sept. 16, 2022


A la Mala, Pedro Pablo Ibarra, Aislinn Derbez, Mauricio Ochmann, Papile Aurora, Daniela Schmidt, Luis Arrieta, Juan Diego Covarrubias

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