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Movie Review

Lights! Camera! Drama!

Those are the three key ingredients in any Latin American telenovela. And this one—even though it's on the big screen instead of the small one, where these kinds of dramedies usually live—is no exception.

Valentina and Jason live quiet, peaceful lives in New York City. They go on runs, take strolls on beautiful days and enjoy one another’s company. Until one day, Jason pops the question and Valentina must return to Mexico to break the news to her family, the infamous Hidalgos.

But there are a few problems …

First, she doesn’t really want to tell her family that she’s engaged. In fact, she's really returning to Mexico because she's learned that her father—without asking her—has married her off to an ex-lover named Angel to help his political career. Talk about a hard discussion to have with your new fiancé! No wonder she deliberately avoids having it before heading back home.

And that's just the beginning of Valentina's problems.

Her father, Demetrio, is running for mayor of Mexico City as a candidate for the Mexican Austerity Party. He's a gentle, kind man in many ways. But he's also decidedly lacking moral scruples in many others. (Not the least of which is that his family is filthy rich and loves living that way).

Demetrio has remarried eccentric, narcissistic Oralia, a woman who adores both the camera and cash. Bernardo, her son, is notorious for crashing cars, partying wildly and generally making a scene. Then there’s the crazy aunt who’s been imprisoned, but still can’t help chiming in with her own political advice via Skype. Throw in a skirt-chasing grandfather, and it's not hard to see why Valentina escaped to America in the first place.

But Valentina is also a pragmatic, resourceful woman. Even though she's furious that her father married her off to Angel without her permission, she's determined to undo the damage he's done and help him win his election. But just when she thinks she's starting to get a handle on all that drama, Jason shows up in Mexico without telling her.


Now, Valentina must help her family members navigate their complicated political campaign while navigating her equally complicated engagement … all the while second-guessing whether Jason is really the man she wants to be with after all.

Positive Elements

It's clear from the start that Jason and Valentina love each other very deeply. So much so, in fact, that he's willing to plan most of their wedding himself while she's in Mexico. He also gives her the benefit of the doubt to a certain point while she's away, wanting to believe that she's doing what she told him. (Even though she is, in fact, secretly trying to undo the damage her father has done by marrying her off to Angel).

Despite that rather glaring fault, however, Valentina’s father is very tender toward her. The two obviously share a close, albeit complicated, relationship. He is willing to sacrifice for his daughter, even when his judgment is clouded. And at times, Valentina is willing to help her father, too, even when it's not in her own best interests.

Angel, Valentina’s ex-lover, has started an after-school program for children in low income areas (with Demetrio's help). The film suggests that while he had major character flaws in the past, perhaps he's slowly becoming a more virtuous man in the present. Early on, Angel tries to win Valentina back. But when he realizes that she truly loves and is committed to Jason, he graciously backs off pursuing her. (Even though that newfound chivalrous behavior confuses and vexes Valentina all the more.) Ultimately, Angel wants whatever will make Valentina happy, even if it's not him.

Valentina attempts to help her family become more trustworthy in the eyes of the Mexico City people who might be voting for him. Her grounded presence helps them to become better people and make better decisions. As for Valentina and Jason, they also learn to tell each other the truth more completely, eventually adopting what they call a "100% honesty" policy.

Spiritual Content

Bernardo has taken up Eastern meditation. We see him in the lotus position at one point, trying to meditate as Angel and Jason argue in front of him.

Sexual Content

Though we never see Valentina and Jason do anything more than passionately kissing, it's clear that they're sleeping together back in the States. Jason, for his part, doesn't understand why they can't share a bedroom when he visits Valentina; she tells him that traditional Mexican values prohibit such brazen behavior. But she promise she'll "make it up to him" at some point soon.

Valentina runs in a tight spandex outfit. She also sheds a sweater, revealing a skimpy tank top and cleavage. In one scene she wears a dress with an open back. Another outfit is very tight and revealing in front. Valentina’s stepmother, Oralia, constantly wears ostentatious outfits (read: real jaguar fur, she brags) that showcase a lot of cleavage; a news anchor refers to her as “sexy” and a “beauty queen.” A couple of scenes show Jason shirtless; we see him in his boxers, too.

The grandfather is heard trying to force himself on a young woman who was interviewing for a secretary position; we see her flustered and disheveled, buttoning up her shirt. He complains in a way that suggests he's used to having his way with pretty young assistants to the family. Melanie Tate, Jason’s mother, shares private sexual details of her youth with her son.

Valentina and Angel come close to kissing numerous times once she arrives in Mexico. She simultaneously tries to push him away (to remain faithful to Jason) but is obviously still attracted to him. The pair crashes a wedding reception together and dances quite sensually. At times, they're very close to each other, with Angel gripping her waist and pulling her close. Their chemistry is evident, and they even share a few more intimate moments (such as a dinner date) that are never disclosed to Jason.

When Jason arrives in Mexico, he sees Angel with his arm around Valentina. He responds, “Take your hands off my fiancée.” In a subsequent shouting match about Valentina's affections, Angel tells Jason in Spanish, “I took her on that couch.” (Subtitles make most of the film's Spanish dialogue accessible to those who don't speak the language.) Jason then recounts a lurid experience of his own with Valentina.

Valentina’s stepbrother, Bernardo, grabs his crotch as a crude gesture toward the police. Elsewhere someone does the same. Someone crassly yells, “Lend me your sister.” At a professional wrestling match, Angel coaches Jason on how to hurl insults properly. Jason overdoes it, however, calling one wrestler's mother a "whore."

And there is a reference to “tropical dancing.” A news anchor announces that a political candidate “didn’t beat around the bush” when asked about her opinion on same-sex marriage. Another candidate competing against Demetrio appears to be gay and is constantly surrounded by younger men who all dress like him. We see professional wrestlers in skin-tight outfits.

Violent Content

Jason and Angel get drunk at a bar where there's also a competition to see how long inebriated patrons can hold onto a metal handle that shocks them badly. Both men participate in a contest to see who can withstand that electrical "torture" longest.

Afterward, the two end up at a slam-filled wrestling match where the insult mentioned above earns Jason and Angel a beating at the hands of the wrestlers. (We don't see it, but both men have black eyes afterward.) Jason and Angel also have a brawl over Valentina in which they hit and kick each other repeatedly.

Jason tells Valentina not to get” kidnapped or beheaded” while in Mexico. A man says, “I’ll break your face.” A fundraiser for needy children overseas includes images of them carrying guns.

Crude or Profane Language

We hear five f-words and about 10 s-words. God’s name is misused at least 10 times, and Jesus’ name is misused five times. Other frequent vulgarities include "d--n," "b--ch," "b--tard," "d--mit," "a--," "a--hole," "jacka--" and "h---." Verbal putdowns include "jerk," "moron," "stupid," "idiot" and "douchebag." Bernardo's social media meltdowns (several of which go viral) earn him the unenviable nickname "Lord Crybaby." Characters use crude hand gestures three times.

Some name-calling slips into ethnic slur territory, usually with Mexicans mocking Americans. We hear: "Yankee,” “beaner,” “gringo” and “hippie." On the other side, Valentina is derisively labeled as "a Mexican" while she's still in the States.

Profanities are heard in both Spanish and English as well as captured in the subtitles. However, there are a few harsh Spanish vulgarities that are not translated in the subtitles but which will be obvious to Spanish-speaking audiences.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Characters smoke and drink in numerous scenes. They imbibe champagne, beer, whiskey, mixed drinks and, of course, tequila by the bottle. Someone is also offered a Bloody Mary.

Nearly all of the main characters in the film are shown knocking down alcohol—sometimes a lot of it. Angel and Valentina get drunk together at a wedding; Jason and Angel get drunk together after Valentina sends them out for a night on the town. Oralia and Melanie Tate get falling-down drunk together as well. Many of Angel's friends commiserate with him at a bar during Valentina's wedding, and they all seem quite inebriated, too.

Valentina’s stepbrother is a notorious alcoholic. It is implied that one electoral candidate had a previous cocaine addiction.

Other Negative Elements

Valentina struggles to find peace in her life, which is one of the reasons she moved to the United States. When she returns to Mexico, she is bombarded by the chaos of her self-absorbed and dysfunctional family; she is quickly angered when Angel initially assumes that she'll still respond to him as she did when they dated many years before. In all of this, Valentina is depicted as generally sane compared to her out-of-control family.

Jason and Valentina have a rule that they will not Google each other. Jason breaks this rule (after Valentina's communications with him become infrequent and suspicious), and his trust is shattered. He fears Valentina may be cheating on him, so much so that he goes to Mexico to find out.

In fact, Valentina has lied to him—not to get away with anything, but because she feels trapped by what her father has done. She also lies to her family. It's usually to accomplish some good purpose. Still, Valentina struggles mightily to tell anyone the truth: Jason, her family, even herself.

The Hidalgo family, meanwhile, is frequently tarred in the media for tawdry, tabloid-worth exploits. The Hidalgos are compared to the Kardashians, as well as being called a “twisted Mexican version of the Kennedys." Valentina tells Jason that a woman threw her own excrement at Valentina in college because of her family name.

Many family members often try to manipulate others here for selfish ends. Police officers are at times corrupt and can be bought off by one major political party to frame the other one.


Throughout this dual-language film one thing is certain: family can be crazy. Sometimes, there's enough chaos to make you want to pull your hair out. But it’s also filled with wonderful and beautiful moments. Your family is where you turn for a good laugh, a helping hand and the comfort of being with people who know you perhaps better than you know yourself.

Valentina swings like a pendulum through these opposing experiences of her drama-filled clan. Sometimes they go overboard and make life really complicated for her. But they also make life sweet at times, too. Valentina comments in one scene that she left Mexico to get away from the noise and the chaos, but she realizes that what she ran away from is what she’s also been missing all along.

Eventually, Valentina finds herself forced to make tough choices about what she values the most, and about being 100% honest—even when doing so really hurts.

La Boda de Valentina (The Wedding of Valentina) often delightfully embodies a kind of naive, tender innocence that is typical of the telenovela genre. Less delightful is this film's embrace of profanity, alcohol abuse and sexual innuendo. So even though some moments might inspire you to travel to Mexico to hear authentic Mariachi music, you’ll probably still want to steer clear of the Hidalgo family's excess-filled story here.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

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Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range



Marimar Vega as Valentina; Kate Vernon as Melanie Tate; Ryan Carnes as Jason Tate; Omar Chaparro as Angel; Jesús Zavala Bernardo; Tony Dalton as Adrián Corcuera; Christian Tappán as Demetrio and Sabine Moussier as Oralia


Marco Polo Constandse ( )





Record Label



In Theaters

February 9, 2018

On Video

May 8, 2018

Year Published



Kristin Smith

Content Caution

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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