Limonada Image


By Andrew Stover | March 31, 2022

Director Ethan Maniquis’s solo feature debut, Limonada, is the cinematic equivalent of full-blown hysteria and absurdity, specifically from an independent filmmaking stance. In his Spanish language comedy, the characters take hallucinogenic drugs and lose their grasp on reality. For a comedy that’s driven by broad, physical humor and exaggerated situations, this premise is certainly appropriate. But there is such a thing as doing too much than what is needed, let alone warranted. 

Megan (Graciella Dietsch) and Phillip (Diego Vicos) are an engaged couple who are staying at a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic. Getting situated at the villa, Megan tries to convince the villa’s owner that they are responsible guests, and Phillip has the wedding jitters. The couple awaits the arrival of their parents. Florence (Hony Estrella) is Megan’s high-spirited mother who has a lot of energy and opinions. Don (Tony Pascual) is Phillip’s pompous father who makes sure everyone knows that money is of no concern. Meanwhile, Megan welcomes cleaning lady Mirta (Sandy Hernandez) and her boyfriend Oscar (Omar Augusto Luis) as guests. As the six of them clash in a weird comedic fashion, they drink cups of lemonade that were accidentally spiked with psychotropic drugs. 

As the six of them clash in weird comedic fashion, they drink cups of lemonade that were accidentally spiked with psychotropic drugs.”

For a low-budget slapstick comedy with a trippy visual aesthetic, Limonada is enjoyably outlandish. Admittedly, the visuals are rough around the edges, and the exaggerated humor doesn’t always work. However, the cast is clearly having fun, and their chemistry is on point. Graciella Dietsch and Diego Vicos have funny moments as a couple on the verge of marriage. Megan’s brimming optimism regarding her forthcoming nuptials contrasts well with Phillip’s fear of commitment. There are moments where he acts like a bumbling fool, making a bad first, second, and third impression on Megan’s mother as she playfully waves a kitchen knife around in a comical manner. Vicos’ performance is lighthearted. But Hony Estrella is particularly hilarious as Megan’s mother, retaining her inflated temperament throughout as she slaps and criticizes others without any filter.

The physical comedy is mainly effective by virtue of the colorful performances. Meanwhile, the location where most of the high jinks transpire is a sumptuous, modern villa that is pleasing to the eyes. It doesn’t take long for the drugs to take effect and for the characters to lose themselves in a dream-like haze, where they experience a talking goat and swirling colors. It’s completely bonkers and brazenly eccentric. But once the drugs take effect, the drugs never really wear off, and the silliness persists for the rest of the movie. The movie is admirably outrageous in its slapstick approach. That said, it loses stamina because some hallucinatory scenes, while deliberately overdone, are stretched beyond their initial impact. 

Bolstered by lively performances, solid humor, and a simple, albeit wacky vision, Limonada is a micro-budget comedy that is unfortunately weighed down by too much absurdity. Nevertheless, the movie is aware of what it wants to accomplish as an indie comedy, and it delivers more than it doesn’t. 

Limonada (2022)

Directed: Ethan Maniquis

Written: Ethan Maniquis, Junior Rosario

Starring: Graciella Dietsch, Diego Vicos, Sandy Hernandez, Omar Augusto Luis, Hony Estrella, Tony Pascual, Sasha Higgins, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

Limonada  Image

"…lively performances, solid humor, and a simple, albeit wacky vision..."

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