Jaqi (Tony Guerrero) has just moved to America to live with his sister Rosa. An illegal alien, and quite obviously out of his element, Jaqi’s job prospects are short, which is why Rosa (Doris Morgado) got him an interview at a local business as a day laborer and painter. The morning of his interview, however, Jaqi spills paint on his regular clothes and is forced to wear the only clothing that isn’t damaged: his one business suit.
Due to that business suit, he is mistaken by the company receptionist as interviewing for an executive position that has opened up, and he is rushed in to meet with the company bigwigs, Ken (Clayton Landey) and Dennis (Mark Oliver), who see him as simple-minded but also just the type of person they need to fulfill their diversity requirements. Nevermind that they can’t find his resumé, he says he went to Yale, so he must be on the up-and-up (even if, in Jaqi’s mind, Yale sounded a lot like “jail,” which is why he answered “yes” when confronted with the question).
Not everyone is pleased with Jaqi’s sudden rise to success, especially Anita (Melissa Ponzio), the woman who thought she would’ve gotten the executive position as a promotion. Smelling out that Jaqi is not who the other executives think he is, rather than rat him out, Anita uses Jaqi to investigate some underhanded dealings going on with the company, so she can expose them for the bastards she thinks they are.
Brian Kosisky’s Undocumented Executive is simply a funny film. Not particularly laugh-out-loud funny, or so-bad-it’s-good funny, but just middle of the field, make-you-smile-from-time-to-time funny. The cinematography is strong, audio solid and pacing tight, so all around a quality, competent production.
Tony Guerrero’s Jaqi is like a child stuck in a man’s body. Wide-eyed, easily confused and overly enthusiastic, Jaqi awkwardly moves from moment to moment willing to help anyone that asks, as long as no one suspects him of being illegal and/or tries to deport him. Basically, he’s trying to be inconspicuous, but instead stands out because he’s so awkward about it all.
And I find awkward funny, but much of the film plays off not just the awkwardness but the misunderstood conversations or wordplay of Jaqi’s time at the company. A reoccurring gag involving the top executives’ names made me smile every time it happened (and I mean every time) and I enjoyed the humor that came along with Jaqi’s improvisational-style of life (whatever someone says or does, Jaqi just goes with it).
Is there a message in there about immigration reform or big businesses screwing people over? In the sense that elements exist within the framework of the film, sure, but it isn’t a particularly politicized film. It’s just a comedy about mistaken identity that hits all the notes it’s supposed to hit. It made me smile, and was overall a pleasant experience. Undocumented Executive isn’t a great film, but it isn’t a bad one either; it’s just a good one. It’s the type of film that, were I flipping through the channels on TV and saw that it was on, I might leave it on and watch again.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.