CAPSULE: Through a comedy of coincidences, mistakes, and bluffing an incompetent Mexican immigrant laborer suddenly finds himself the chief accountant for an investment company. He has to bluff his way with the help of an ambitious assistant who wants his new job. The dialog and a few of the situations created are genuinely funny. But the characters are mostly clichéd and one-dimensional. Writer/producer/editor Brian Kosisky, who has directed only documentaries previously, directs his own narrative film. Considering the controversial subject matter, the film could have been a little more original and ambitious. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
A Mexican laborer, Jesus "Jaqi" Gutierrez (played by Tony Guerrero) illegally enters the United States hoping to find work. Find it he does as a series of errors gets him interviewing not for a building painting job but as the financial comptroller of Truvestech, an investment firm. He is in a complex job that he has absolutely no training for. His only hope is bluffing his way along shielded by other people's misunderstandings. As a stroke of unexpected luck his is given as an assistant, Anita Vasquez (Melissa Ponzio), who can do the job of comptroller and had expected to get his job for herself. She decides to help Jaqi pull off his bluff.
Well, let me get the bad news out of the way first. This is a comedy of misunderstandings and errors. There is no shortage of those. They go back to William Shakespeare. But Shakespeare did a lot more to characterize the people on the stage. Pretty much everybody in the film is a stereotype. The characters are all familiar and the plot is just as familiar. Naturally this part of the company is run by two older white males who are, of course racist, sexist, dishonest, and who would cheat anybody who comes into their grasp. None of this is innovative filmmaking. The writer/director is Brian Kosisky whose previous work is in documentaries. Kosisky should have been able to put a little bite in this film and give it something to say without damaging the comic content.
At the same time the film is telling its comic story it could have been showing a little more deeply the problems of illegal immigrants in this country. We see Jaqi's sister scrubbing floors while her employers accuse her of theft and suffix every noun with "o" to sound Spanish. There is no denying that this film is successful in being an amusing comedy striving only to entertain. But the characters could have been a little deeper and the plot did not have to be quite so predictable. This film could have delivered its comic payload and still could have the viewer with something to think about. It may at first seem a little racist how silly-stupid Jaqi is as the immigrant in the early parts, but on second consideration he is probably no worse than Jerry Lewis was in his early films.
For a film with a familiar plot, UNDOCUMENTED EXECUTIVE does manage to pull off a few laughs. And as Edmund Kean said, comedy is hard. The film will not be a memorable one but it is amusing for 90 minutes. Still as a premier film from a documentary maker, I rate it high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10. The film will be available on iTunes starting March 30.
Side note: Actor Guerrero is himself an illegal alien fighting deportation. In 2012 he was ordered deported. He was getting the deportation postponed a year at a time year by year. Meanwhile the President's executive order has given him a reprieve, at least temporarily. But in the current political climate that order may not hold.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2089847/combined
What others are saying: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/undocumented_executive/
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2015 Mark R. Leeper