12 Horas (2002)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Ensemble Film, Urban Comedy  |   Release Date - Mar 7, 2003 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - Puerto Rico , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Josh Ralske

12 Hours is an energetic, fast-paced, sexy, and stylish tour of San Juan nightlife hampered by occasional lapses into cliché and by an unnecessarily downbeat and unsatisfying ending. Writer/director Raul Marchand uses entertaining visual tricks (freeze-frames, wipes, fast-motion) and an eclectic blend of Puerto Rican pop music to capture the wild energy of a night on the town in San Juan. Together with an inexperienced but attractive cast, he's created a large group of compelling and sympathetic characters. Particularly appealing are Cielomar Cuevas, as the virginal Cristina, and Charlie Masso, as the pragmatic temporary gigolo, Abraham. Rosabel del Valle, as the ambitious television reporter, is also good, but hers is a character seen in too many movies. Several plot elements -- the lost lottery ticket, the woman in labor -- are similarly hackneyed, but the film transcends its more shopworn story devices through Marchand's slick pacing and effervescent tone. There's a tragic twist at the end of the film, dramatically unearned and thematically troubling, which threatens to cast a pall over everything before it. But despite some missteps, 12 Hours is a very pleasant and engaging film, which is a tremendous credit to the Marchand's talent as a filmmaker.