Unfortunately for Tato, his plan appears to work right from the start, but falls apart almost immediately. The “box” looks nothing like his mother’s room. His mother is anxious to move back home, while his friend has already demolished the home. Fortunately for Tato, he has plenty of cocaine to help him through the crisis.
One of the best parts of this story is how Tato’s mother figures everything out about half-way through the film. I love the fact that Llosa’s comedy is not about this wacky scheme and the silly things Tato has to do to keep the deception alive. He blows it up from the start. The heart of the film is found in Paul Vega as Tato playing a major life screw-up, and the comedy comes in the consequences of his life’s choices bringing him to the ultimate point of despair. Of all the things he’s selfishly done in life, his biggest disappointment is how he screwed over his mother.
“It has heart, and its silliness is kept to a minimum, and its story takes precedents over the jokes.”
For a light comedy, La Restauración is as grounded as you can get. Don’t let the wacky and crazy film synopsis fool you into thinking La Restauración is a screwball comedy. It has heart, and its silliness is kept to a minimum, and its story takes precedents over the jokes.
The movie is akin to Curb Your Enthusiasm except that Tato becomes a likable person at the end and has a true character arc. There’s also not a cast of weird and wacky supporting characters. Everyone who surrounds him plays their part with realism as they go for his plan only because they think its best for his mother.
Drama aside, Llosa also has a few harsh words to say about gentrification and greed. It’s not preachy but does become the motivation for Tato’s desperate need to get-rich-quick. The imminent market crash also plays into the final outcome of the film and its ending loaded with beautiful irony. In the end, there’s a sweetness in La Restauración that makes the film worth watching to cleanse the palate of overly joke-heavy nonsense from the U.S.
La Restauración screened at the 2020 Newport Beach Film Festival.
"…a few harsh words to say about gentrification and greed."