Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Paco (1976)



Sloppily constructed family film Paco ostensibly tells the story of a little Colombian boy (Panchito Gómez) who travels from the country to the crowded streets of Bogotá in search of his wayward uncle. Yet the most interesting material is a subplot revealing the uncle’s vocation—he’s a Fagin-like mastermind controlling a network of street urchins who steal to pay off loans that he offers at usurious interest rates. As played by the elegant José Ferrer, this character is infinitely livelier than a generically heartbroken little boy on walkabout. Yet relegating the most colorful person onscreen to secondary status isn’t the only storytelling error made by the creators of Paco. In the film’s most peculiar sequence, Pernell Roberts shows up to play a flamboyant gangster. How flamboyant? Roberts’ big scene literally takes place on a theater stage, with the actor flitting about in a cape while issuing dialogue like thunder and decorating lines with dramatic hand gestures. It’s a mystery how Roberts’ showboating relates to the rest of the picture, because by that point the wheels have gone completely off the bus. After all, we haven’t even mentioned the silly stuff at the beginning of the picture involving a priest (Allen Garfield) whose signature move is belching and then turning his eyes skyward so he can apologize to God. There’s also a heist sequence with intense music befitting a Mission: Impossible episode. And the donkey featured prominently on the film’s poster? Gone by about 15 minutes into the movie. Rarely have so many disparate parts added up to so little.

Paco: LAME

2 comments:

Guy Callaway said...

"Better Than Benji!" - that's a pretty low bar.
What a horrific poster!

Alan said...

Photographed by future director of "The Fugitive" and "Under Siege," Andrew Davis.