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‘Everybody Loves Somebody’ is a pleasant surprise

Everybody Loves Somebody

* * * *  (out of five)

Director: Catalina Aguilar Mastretta

Cast: Karla Souza, Ben O’Toole, Jose Maria Yazpik

Rated: PG-13 (sexual content, strong language)

Running time: 102 min.

Posted 7:54am on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017

Like its bilingual heroine, the multi-culti romantic comedy “Everybody Loves Somebody” breezily bounces back and forth from Baja to Los Angeles, and it’s a pleasant diversion, on both sides of the border.

In a nifty opening sequence, gifted gynecologist Clara (Karla Souza, very good) tells us — in Spanish — about her train wreck of a love life. As she reveals her irrational fear of commitment, we see her working with her patients — in English — at a hospital in L.A.

Clara seeks refuge in one-night stands, but this ploy goes south when her parents, after two children and 40 years of living together, decide to finally tie the knot, and Clara feels obligated to bring a date to the wedding in Mexico.

She picks interested Aussie intern Asher (Ben O’Toole, quite appealing), and they have an instant rapport. Yet things get muy complicado, naturalmente, after Clara’s old boyfriend Daniel (Jose Maria Yazpik) shows up, and a messy love triangle develops.

This is hardly a groundbreaking story, but writer-director Catalina Aguilar Mastretta has assembled an appealing cast, and her intelligently written script keeps things interesting. The dazzling Souza in particular delivers a fine comic performance: Even though Clara does some unsavory things, we still root for her to find love — not an easy feat for an actor to pull off. Think of Julia Roberts in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

Mastretta gets considerable mileage out of her bilingual concept, but it’s never forced, and we enjoy being in both of Clara’s worlds. Ironically, or perhaps not, Baja comes off as paradise, and Los Angeles comes off as, well, Los Angeles. But Mastretta isn’t interested in making statements as much as entertaining us.

Does she pull it off? The answer is a definite si.

In English and Spanish with English subtitles

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