This utterly delightful comedy is written and directed by and stars former SNL writer Julio Torres as Alejandro, a Salvadoran immigrant with big dreams of becoming a toy designer.  His ideas for new toys are hilarious (a Barbie with her fingers crossed behind her back, a Cabbage Patch doll that mean-texts)  and he’s moved to New York with the aim of entering Hasbro’s incubator program. But when he is rejected by them as then loses his job at a cryogenics lab, he is in serious danger of being deported. Enter the over-the-top cuckoo former art critic Elizabeth (Tilda Swinton) whose frozen husband Bobby (RZA)  was under Alejandro’s care at the lab. The lab is about to raise the rate on keeping him frozen and Elizabeth needs to sell his art to pay for his keep. And Alejandro really needs a job and a sponsor to stay in the country until that Hasbro job comes through. And so the two of them team up.

To say that Elizabeth is a hot mess is an understatement. She is the boss from hell at times. In some of the fantasy sequences in the film she is an actual monster and Alejandro is dressed in armor battling her. She’s obsessed with having Bobby’s art catalogued in FileMaker Pro, much to everyone’s befuddlement, and can’t drive or figure out anything technical. She tasks Alejandro with tracking down Bobby’s paintings, all of which are of eggs, even sending him to the house of a woman Bobby cheated on her with (Greta Lee). All Alejandro really needs is enough money to get by and Elizabeth’s agreement to sponsor him before the immigration people boot him from America. But the clock is ticking and he only has 30 days to get that sponsorship.

While so much of the film is funny, the real maze that Alejandro and other immigrants have to travel is all too real. And Elizabeth is seemingly so caught up in her quest to have a gallery show of Bobby’s egg paintings that she isn’t seeing how desperate Alejandro is. Torres’s Alejandro is a sweet pushover, incapable of breaking through Elizabeth’s delusional facade. Though ultimately, thankfully they both overcome their limitations.

The film is inventive and funny and feels like the baby of Wes Anderson and Charlie Kaufman, grappling to find its footing but still adorable. Swinton steals the show. You hate her and love her, and can’t take your eyes off her.  And Torres is the perfect straight man to take the punches and spring back. I highly recommend it to people looking for a totally off-beat comedy.

In theaters now. 



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