Struggling, mild mannered encyclopedia salesman Alfredo (Cámara) and his wife (Peña) take advantage of an offer to make adult movies, which ignites his passion to become a filmmaker, and turns her into a star.
Dismissed in some quarters as a suburban Spanish take on Boogie Nights, this is a gentle, camp but nonetheless revealing satire on how a nation circumvented the social strictures imposed upon it by Franco’s fading fascist regime.
But it’s the performances of the balding Cámara and his brooding wife, Candela Peña, that prove the film’s strength. Their hesitant attempts at making home movies are coyly comic, but even more impressive are Cámara’s delusional conviction that he’s evolving into smut’s Ingmar Bergman and Peña’s reluctant turning to Danish stud Thomas Bo Larson to fulfil her maternal instincts.
The fact that timid salesman Javier Cámara’s adventures in the porn trade are vaguely rooted in truth gives Pablo Berger’s enjoyable debut the licence to bridge its occasional credibility crises.