A Day Without a Mexican (2004)


What if American’s Mexicans suddenly disappeared one day? Well, in effect, what if America’s “laziest race” disappeared one day? Well, then we’d have a nation of lazy Caucasians, wouldn’t we? And we’d have an actual group of people, whom are Americans who will not work. And we’d be at war with one another. And we’d be calling each other sub-human, wouldn’t we? “A Day without a Mexican” is not just a satire on the Mexican sub-culture, but an indictment on America on the Hispanic sub-culture. But I’m trying to figure out what the hell was going through the writers minds when making this.

“A Day without a Mexican” has the surefire chance to spoof all the political commentary it musters up, yet fails big time. Why? Because it instead completely misses the point of its own message, and by the second half completely turns into a drama/thriller. The Mexicans have disappeared and now the world has to survive on its own, and the film almost becomes post-apocalyptic. And in the end, the director creates all this forward progression only to revert back to the condescending tone it possessed in the first half. Nothing has really changed even when, in quite a muddling fashion, the white characters have to fend for themselves, and find a way to hire workers that actually want to work i.e. the Mexicans. And as good an actress as Yareli Arizmendi is, even she can’t save this boring, and awfully stupid thriller that is never sure what it’s trying to say, and can never decide if it wants to be a dark comedy, or an honest to goodness thriller.

Thus the film feels scattered, and inept, and takes a golden opportunity slamming it into the floor. And when it does actually revert to the comedy, the gags are hit and miss, because even the gags end up stale and rather clunky. Halfway into it when Arizmendi is attempting to discover where the Mexicans have gone, and begins having an emotional breakdown, many of the audience members will be inclined to ask “Wasn’t this a comedy?” And they’ll feel manipulated into watching a drama that shoves its message down our throats, instead of a dark comedy that puts society to task. Even though the message can be quite clever, viewers will be hard pressed to find honest laughs and chuckles in this quasi-comedy that instead transforms into a thriller mid-way, and a rather muddled thriller at that. “A Day without a Mexican” is not as brilliant as it thinks, it’s not even that good.