Samy y Yo (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

When Harry Kate met Sally Woody

I was really hoping there would be some nudity in this film for a couple of reasons. The obvious one, of course, is that any man in his right mind, with even the faintest traces of testosterone in his body, would want to see Angie Cepeda naked. The second reason is that I don't usually write up any films without nudity. I look at every new release every week, and I just don't have time to write about the fleshless ones unless they are cinema classics.

This one isn't a classic, but it is a very good comedy.

Here's the idea.

It's a romantic comedy, but not from the Hollywood formula factory, not a story about pretty people making their inevitable march toward each other with a few detours. It comes from the quirky side of romantic comedy, the side that includes Tracey/Hepburn and Woody Allen's pairings with Diane Keaton. In fact, those two teams give the film its inspiration, but with a mix-and-match pairing. It's Woody Allen and Kate Hepburn.

  • The female star is a wisecracking know-it-all who talks fast, thinks fast, and is always in command of every situation. She's feminine, but not in a submissive way. In short, she's the perfect unmarried 1940s career woman.

  • The male star is a nebbishy Jewish writer who is currently writing gags for a cocky TV comic a lot like Jay Leno (or Sid Caesar, for that matter). The writer, of course, doesn't want to write this kind of material. He wants to be Kafka or Borges or Strindberg, or maybe Ingmar Bergman. He walks down the street muttering miserably to himself, lost in paranoia, and hypochondria. In his spare time he's trying to write angst-laden novels with passages like "He hated Buenos Aires. He hated its commerce, its bankers, its energy. He hated its restaurants and cafes ... "

You have the picture, right? They are so much like Katharine Hepburn and Woody Allen that I'm just going to call them Kate and Woody. There are two other things I have to tell you.

  • The first has to do with appearances. The real Katharine Hepburn was an attractive enough woman, but Angie Cepeda is not just "sort of attractive". She is a friggin' TKO. She's Hepburn with Raquel Welch's face and body!

  • The second revelation is that this is a film from Argentina, and the entire film is in Spanish. (Cepeda is actually Colombian.)

The plot:

Kate has a stroke of entrepreneurial genius. She sees that the pairing between a self-confident Jay Leno comedian and a Woody Allen writer is a mismatch, and that the writer's lines, basically his whining about his own life, should be delivered by the writer himself, somebody who is enough of a  Sad Sack to make the whining realistic. So Kate pulls a lot of strings in the TV industry - we are led to believe she does this by using her, um, feminine charms on some rich criminals - and forces the writer to become a TV star. When I say "forces", I mean that literally. She arranges for a live show, and she just pushes Woody out into a three-walled set, with the door locked behind him, and the audience in front of him. He whines about how he doesn't want to be a TV star, and the audience thinks it is just part of the show. The more he complains, the funnier he is. In later episodes, Kate makes Woody feel even more anxious on camera by putting his classic Jewish Mother in the front row of the audience, and just lets mama do her thing. Woody's heightened anxiety produces heightened hilarity, and soon mama is as big a star as Woody himself.

The fly in this perfect ointment is happiness.

Kate and Woody fall in love. Woody becomes Argentina's #1 pop culture icon. He becomes happy.

When he finds happiness, the magic is gone from his show.

If you are with me so far, you can probably deduce that the film is stuck at this point. Where do you take it from there? Do the lovers say "fuck it", throw out the show and just live happily ever after in their love? That's the way a formula Hollywood romcom would do it, but I ask you, is that what Kate Hepburn would do? Of course not. She would find a way to make Woody truly miserable again, so he can be successful.


Angie Cepeda shows one breast very briefly in an apres-sex sleeping scene.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no major features

  • no widescreen

You can probably figure it out from there.

It's a terrific idea. I liked the movie a lot. I laughed out loud a few times. 

My only hesitation in recommending it is that the film just drifts aimlessly for the last ten minutes, or maybe nine of the ten, until it sort of muddles through a happy ending. That temporary anomie didn't really spoil the film for me, however, so if it is your kind of film, "enjoy"!

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. If you like offbeat romantic comedies, and have no objection to a sub-titled Spanish movie, you will love this one. Besides, how many movies are there with three consecutive "y's" in the title?

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