Kiki, Love to Love is a Spanish comedy / drama based on Australian director Josh Lawson’s 2014 film The Little Death. It follows the lives and unusual sexual preferences of a selection of Madrid residents.
Even though it deals with the fetishes and uncommon sexual foibles, it’s not as bawdy or crass as its synopsis sounds. And although the film is most certainly a comedy, the central message of Kiki, Love to Love is one of positivity. We’re not laughing at the weirdness (well, okay, maybe we are to begin with), but rather celebrating it. We are invited to look at these characters and the uncommon things that arouse them and realise there really is no such thing as ‘normal’. That while these proclivities might make for some very funny circumstances, there’s no shame or derision for anyone involved.
However, that’s not to say we don’t get some deliberate oddness in the service of comedy. Arousal by plant life, armed robbery and the sight of a man weeping are all covered here. And it’s a testament to the good-natured spirit of Kiki, Love to Love that the film does not derail even when venturing down a couple of darker paths. A man drugging his wife and a woman pretending to have cancer do not, at first, seem like ripe comedy material, but there are plenty of laughs to be had despite the murky topics.
When the film begins, you might be forgiven for thinking it an anthology movie. The ensemble cast makes up five different stories that are woven together, but have little to do with each other as far as the narrative goes. In fact, structurally, there’s a little bit of deceit as the tales do not interlink at all. There is no sophisticated connective tissue, ala Pulp Fiction or Amores Perros, so they could just as easily be left to stand on their own. That’s not to say it’s bad, or even that it doesn’t necessarily work, merely that mixing up the story threads does not serve any ultimate purpose.
Fortunately, director Paco LeÃ³n has crafted an amiable and pleasant comedy that will make you want to stick around. It’s hard to single out anyone in particular, but Alexandra JimÃ©nez cuts a strange yet appealing figure as deaf, lizard owning, fabric loving Sandra. The actress gives us both the cantankerous and charming sides of her character’s personality. And having young stuck-in-a-marital-rut couple Paco (played by the director/co-writer) and Ana (Ana Katz) visiting a fetish club, surrounded by hot girls who look like the lausanne escorts, makes for some awkward and very funny (if a little predictable) fish-out-of-water shenanigans.
Kiki, Love to Love evolves and resolves itself in fairly safe rom-com standards, and while that might seem a little too neat in places, it doesn’t make the make film any less enjoyable. It’s a fun, well intentioned comedy that’ll put some lead in your pencil and a spring in your step.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10