Spanish Affair was so popular in its home country that it became the highest-grossing Spanish film of all time. Not surprisingly, this sequel was greeted with enthusiasm when it was released in Spain last year, enjoying the biggest opening weekend of the year and the third-highest opening weekend ever.
The first film was brilliant. It was hilarious, sexy, stylish, and had characters you really cared about. It also played heavily on the Spanish sense of self and national identity.
Particular local sensitivities and regional prejudices underlined much of the humour but it was really just an over-the-top romantic comedy about love gone wrong. It ended with the wedding of Amaia (Clara Lago) and Rafa (Dani Rovira) being abandoned in spectacular circumstances.
Spanish Affair 2 follows on with Amaia about to marry Pau (Berto Romero) in a rebound romance.
Pau is a super-cool artist who goes everywhere with an entourage of impeccably dressed hipster friends and talks in shades of colour. Their wedding is being bank-rolled by his wealthy grandmother Roser (Rosa Maria Sarda) at her villa in the country and managed by Judit (Belen Cuesta), a professional wedding planner who is secretly in love with the groom. This offers all the possibilities of a traditional country-house comedy, with lovers wandering the corridors at night and being caught in all the wrong places.
This is a sweet, gentle romantic comedy with likeable characters and some very good moments. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen the original because it’s covered quickly in the film’s opening scenes.
The performance from Karra Elejalde, as Koldo, the father who wants to get Amaia and Rafa back together, is outstanding. And Romero skewers the hipster trend with searing precision.
Once again, much of the humour is based on the cultural tensions between the Andalusians, the Basques and the Catalans, so you often know you’re missing the joke, but there is still plenty of comedy to sustain the film.
Spanish Affair 2 may not be as laugh-out-loud funny as the original, but it can stand alone as a delightfully enjoyable rom-com.
The Spanish Film Festival is at Palace Nova until May 22. Spanish Affair 2 screens again on May 8, 14 and 22.
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