Spanish cinema is not only witnessing the rise of family comedy, but it seems that all the tapes that have opted for this genre have agreed to set the scene for Christmas. We have already seen how ‘Care with what you wish for’ by Fernando Colomo replicated elements that worked so well for Santiago Segura with ‘Father there is no more than one’ or ‘A full train! Destino Asturias’ by means of a touch of Christmas magic, resulting in a perfect film for the little ones but that for adult audiences was little more than a routine production full of common places of family cinema. And now, before other Christmas comedies like ‘Mom or Dad’ or ‘Let’s have the party in peace’ hit theaters, we meet again with practically the same thing in ‘The refuge’, another comedy set in this magical and festive period that features numerous comic stars such as Loles León, Leo Harlem or David Guapo. And this is precisely his problem, that he has nothing new to offer. Although it cannot be denied that the film successfully reuses schemes of the Spanish comedy that so many joys at the box office have given in the past.
‘The refuge’ tells us how several people are trapped in a hotel in the middle of a mountain in the middle of a strong storm. Among them is a movie star in low hours, his agent, a young actor with thousands of followers who is about to snatch the role of his life, the interpreter’s girlfriend, his ex, the strict owner of the hotel, his obsessed sister with relaxation and zen exercises and a group of unruly children. Come on, a roster of characters of the most varied that soon unleash chaos as soon as they realize the difficult situation in which they find themselves.
There are lots of cool elements that could have turned ‘The Shelter’ into a very crazy and funny comedy, especially the comical profiles of its characters, its great cast and the good amount of ideas it has in order to awaken the laughter in the viewer. However, everything is seen in a hurry and without finishing polishing, leaving you with the impression that everything passes without pain or glory on the screen, that it does not have the ideal result and that it does not end with fun.
Of course, if you are not very critical, you may find it highly entertaining and enjoyable. And is that most of his gags and characters drink from many successful comedies in our country, especially the aforementioned family comedies by Santiago Segura. Having faces like Leo Harlem, Loles León or Luna Fulgencio, the mixture between the familiar tone and adult humor, the non-stop of wild situations in which everything leads to the most absolute madness, as happened in ‘Father there is no more than one ‘or’ A full train ‘.
What’s more, has a very dedicated cast. In particular, the trio formed by Sara Sálamo, David Guapo and Mariam Hernández works very well, who in their love rivalry under deranged characters know how to cope very well. The same with Loles León as the owner of that hotel where disasters do not stop happening, which thanks to her traditional and wonderful comic vision stands as the owner of the show.
Was it a family comedy?
Regarding that mix between family humor and adult there is a detail that squeaks me. And is that the kindest tone and for the whole family it is noticeable stuck with shoehorn, as if the original project were an adult comedy to which ultimately they have wanted to give a change of course. For example, most of the tone for all audiences is given by a story-like narration of the story by Leo Harlem, who recounts the events from outside to the characters of Marcos and Luna Fulgencio. In addition, the whole plot of the children within the hotel’s story is the one that has the most trouble finding its way.
This It makes me suspect that due to the great reception of family comedy in Spain in recent years, the project was reconfigured, especially considering that his producer, Bowfinger, is also responsible for ‘Father there is no more than one’ and ‘A todo tren’. Hence also that the film knows how to be so precise when it comes to resorting to the schemes of the success of this type of cinema, which, after all, is what makes it stand out the most.
The best: It replicates the formula of successful Spanish comedies like those of Santiago Segura.
Worst: It shows in a hurry and its plot is a chaos of elements that do not work.