A breezy, multicultural tale of modern-day love, “Everybody Loves Somebody” is light as air, an enjoyable tale, if lacking a bit of grounding. Writer-director Catalina Aguilar Mastretta’s film is a border-crossing family tale, set in Los Angeles and on the coast of Mexico.
Karla Souza plays Clara, a successful ob-gyn who is cynical about relationships thanks to her romantic failings and from observing the issues of her patients. She keeps boyfriends at bay, focusing instead on drunken hook-ups. She’s carefree and flippant, much to the chagrin of her sister and mother, who urge Clara to bring a date to her parents’ wedding — an event 40 years, and two daughters, in the making.
Clara randomly invites her Aussie coworker, Asher (Ben O’Toole). She outfits him with a fake Mexican grandma to make him more palatable to her family, and off they set for the wedding. She just wasn’t expecting her ex, her greatest heartbreak, Daniel (José Maria Yazpik), to be there, too.
And therein lies the love triangle. Clara is torn between the old love and the newcomer, who offers a chance for real intimacy. She juggles them both during a long weekend with her family, playing dangerously close to the precipice of romantic disaster.
The love story is slight. Girl is burned, runs from love, torches real possibility of new love while getting tangled up with her ex. Drunken karaoke confessions inspire some giggles but aren’t exactly groundbreaking.
The interesting part of “Everybody Loves Somebody” is the cultural fluidity that reflects a modern and progressive world. Clara hops back and forth from L.A. to her parents’ sprawling compound in Mexico, and every character slips easily between Spanish and English, including the Aussie. This kind of cultural blend isn’t often seen on the big screen, even if it is reflective of the kind of world that we live in.
That cultural specificity is reflected also in the tight-knit relationship that Clara has with her family. Their lives are all intertwined, and the multitude of romances on display reflects love at every stage. The film also demonstrates how Clara’s choices reverberate through those around her — she can take a wrecking ball to her own love life, but there is going to be collateral damage.
Souza demonstrates chemistry with her competing lovers, and she’s a charming leading lady. If the story went deeper and darker into the depths of Clara’s issues, it might be more compelling. But “Everybody Loves Somebody” stays on the surface of this story, retaining a mostly bright and sunny outlook for all the heartache. Like a Valentine’s candy heart, it’s sweet but evaporates on contact.
“Everybody Loves Somebody”
Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and language. 1:30. Carmike.