'Dad Wanted' aka 'Se busca papa' Review: The rebellious tween act is bearable but the rest fails the narrative
There is no dearth of drama to merit the genre. The movie could have gone without trying too hard to instill emotions by showing Alberto's most vulnerable side, which seems overdone
Spoilers for ‘Dad Wanted’ aka ‘Se busca papa’
Netflix’s latest Mexican comedy 'Dad Wanted' aka 'Se busca papa' seems like its been ripped out of a children's storybook but tries dwelling deep into issues associated with adults. Perhaps, it is this aspect of the movie that’s imbalanced. The dramedy has a handful of actors, where each has done justice to their bit, but not to the overall story arc.
'Dad Wanted' aka 'Se busca papa' revolves around a tween girl Blanca (Natalie Coronado) who is a cycling aficionado. However, her relationship with her mother Fernanda (Silvia Navarro) is parched due to the latter's refusal of her daughter's passion. They barely talk and Blanca feels its unfair of her mother to forbid her from pursuing her passion only because her father died from a bike accident.
Meanwhile, Fernanda is a super-busy filmmaker, who is most of the time consumed by her work, an aspect of her life that has also deeply affected her relationship with Blanca.
The movie begins quite unrealistically, as Blanca is seen racing a cab all the way to her school. But hey, what fun is it without the touch of an adventure? Especially when it shows a young girl cycle her way through crowded roads and humans. While she is a star in her own right, the majority of her schoolmates seem to dislike her, thanks to her brilliant cycling skills and an attitude that reflects poorly on her mother.
Fernanda continues to live with the impression that she has successfully forbade her daughter from cycling forever, while Blanca stages a big plan with her best friend to enter the BMX cycling race. However, when Blanca is struck with the realization that her mother would never in her wildest dreams allow her daughter to touch a bicycle, let alone take part in a competition, the girl and her friend decide to hire an actor who can pose as the father only for the sake of the competition.
The film is bearable until this point and so is Blanca. But, what comes later makes you treat the film differently. So Blanca steals the contact of an actor called Alberto (Juan Pabo Medina) who had once auditioned for one of her mother’s movies. She convinces him to pretend to be her father only to enter the BMX race.
The story takes a dark twist with Alberto’s introduction. As it progresses, we learn that he’s an actor-turned-cab driver who is struggling to deal with the tragic death of his daughter. When Blanca approaches him, he develops a soft corner for the stranger as he feels she could fill his daughter’s place. And Blanca, who wouldn’t speak to her own mother, starts addressing Alberto as her "papa" and lays her blind trust in him.
Alberto goes out of his way to help Blanca fulfill her dreams. But remember, all of this happens in the absence of Fernanda’s knowledge. When Fernanda finally learns about her daughter’s rather odd relationship with a stranger who has also been convincingly posing as her father, she tries separating them. But all it takes a stranger to convince Fernanda into allowing Blanca to take part in the race were a few tears and the story of his dead daughter, which melts the mother’s heart instantly.
Fernanda suddenly realizes that she hasn’t been an understanding and supportive mother to Blanca and soon welcomes the stranger into their lives. Next thing we know, Blanca is winning big at the BMX race, while Fernanda, Alberto and everyone who disliked her at school are seen cheering for her.
Although the Mexican movie has more than one tale to narrate, they just don’t seem to do justice to the story arc. It also feels like Fernanda's work-life was featured in the movie to offer some light-hearted comedy through characters surrounding her, but even they fail to draw enough attention. However, there is no dearth of drama to merit the genre.
The movie could have gone without trying too hard to instill emotions by showing Alberto's most vulnerable side, which seems overdone. Actress Natalie Coronado as Blanca has put up a decent performance. Perhaps, only her character comes close to what the movie tries to deliver besides a little of Alberto's part.
Netflix's 'Dad Wanted' aka 'Se busca papa' makes for an average one-time watch for those who are willing to catch up on it without high expectations.