Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, thematic elements and language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: September 6, 2013 Released by: Lions Gate Films
With only about 300 prints Instructions Not Included has performed quite well taking in 43 million dollars so far.
A film in Spanish with English sub titles follows the relationship of Valentine (Eupenio Derbez) with the little girl who is dropped in his hands by Julie (Jessica Lindsey). The addition of Maggie (Loreto Peralta) changes his playboy life style in Mexico and brings their lives to Los Angeles where he works to support the little girl in the style he believes she deserves by becoming a stuntman in dangerous situations.
Instructions Not Included moves from a comedy to a fairy tale to a soap as the story moves through six years before the child's mother (Lindsey) decides to return to LA to find her child and attempt to return the little girl to her family in New York.
Early on director, Eugenio Derbez carries us through some silly comedy depicting Valentine's amorous adventures with many attractive young women. The light comical tone continues as the two travel north and more so once Maggie and Valentine reach LA and he becomes a stuntman to support the two of them.
The trip to LA is loose and almost tongue in cheek, although a little too much time is spent on dirty diapers and who will change them. The most enchanting scenes come as Maggie grows up in an apartment in which her father has produced a living play room with dad as the playmate. Supposed letters from Mom also bring a sense of fantasy and whimsey to Maggie and to the screen play.
As we would imagine, the free style life which the two enjoy must have some barriers and as time passes a serious situation occurs when Mom returns and we learn of more difficulties deeper in the story.
The evolution of the characters may be easily projected but it is not transparent and the journey is warm
and pleasant to watch.
In the end Valentine and his little girl both learn that their parents act in their favor even when it doesn't
appear obvious to the offspring.
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