El Santos vs. La Tetona Mendoza (2012)

Rating: C+

Dir: Alejandro Lozano and Andrés Couturier
Star (voice): Daniel Gimènez Cacho, Regina Orozco, José María Yazpik, Héctor Jiménez
a.k.a. The Wild Adventures of El Santos

Where to start? A straight-forward recap of the plot for this Mexican animated film is as good as anywhere. Fairly crap masked wrestler Santos (Cacho) is charged with ridding Mexico of a zombie epidemic. While they are indeed got rid of, this causes the economy to implode, because the zombies were the only ones paying taxes. As a result, his ex-girlfriend and brothel madam La Tetona Mendoza (Orozco) gets to take offer, as her whorehouse keeps happy the IMF bankers who bailed Mexico out. Under her iron rule, chauvinist men like Santos are sent to forced re-education camps, where they learn to watch soap operas and not pee on the toilet seat. The only way normality can be restored is to bring the zombies back.

Hopefully, this sounds completely ridiculous and absurd, because a) it is, and b) that’s very clearly the intent, along with lobbing in pop-culture references at a furious rate. It’s based on a popular Mexican comic-strip, which may do a better job of explaining some of these than the movie does, such as the whole “zombies from Sahuayo” thing. Or maybe it’s a local thing which doesn’t travel. The result is entirely scattershot, with moments which fall entirely flat, next to ones which are spot-on, e.g. the We are the World parody, in support of zombies, or the football match which falls somewhere between Escape to Victory and Shaolin Soccer. The visual style seems inspired by Ralph Bakshi – Mendoza spends the entire movie topless (“Tetona” is Mexican for busty)

It is then filtered through The Simpsons, with an attitude that mostly circles around South Park, though with an unfortunate emphasis on the juvenile end which gets tiresome, well before the end. That said, it’s never dull, and even when things are sailing over your head, you’ll keep watching, simply to find out what insanity the creators will choose to lob at you next. Should probably come with commentary by a Mexican, who can explain all the things that leave you scratching your head, regardless of whether they may or may not make them amusing. It’s hard to say if you’ll have any interest in watching this a second time, yet I can’t argue that we will certainly remember it from the first viewing.