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'Second Skin' ('Segunda piel')

Film Festival: 'Skin' not very deep

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

By Bob Hoover, Post-Gazette book editor

Alberto loves Elena.

Alberto loves Diego.

'Second Skin'

dot.gif Unrated but R in nature

dot.gif CRITIC'S CALL:

The Three Rivers Film Festival continues through Nov. 24 with screenings at the Harris Theater, Downtown; the Melwood Screening Room, Oakland; and the Regent Square Theater, Edgewood. Information: 412-682-4111.


What's a guy to do?

Lie a lot and turn off the cell phone.

Alberto (Jordi Molla) wavers between his wife (Ariadna Gil) and male lover (Javier Bardem) in this Spanish version of the eternal triangle.

He can't go forward or backward, so he grimly schleps on his motorcycle from his wife and son to Diego's bed, all the while professing to love everybody. (Keep an eye on that bike. It's director Gerardo Vera's unsubtle "foreshadowing" device.)

The real puzzle is why they love him. He's a two-faced shifty guy who wants the best of both worlds without commitment. Now, isn't that just like a man?

"Second Skin," playing at 7:15 tonight and 9:15 p.m. tomorrow at the Harris Theater, is a handsome production, with beautiful sunsets on the beach, romantic music and some of Spain's beautiful people, including an orthopedic surgeon who looks a bit like Charo.

But, take away the sweaty sheets, the fancy restaurants and the soulful gaze of Bardem, best remembered for "Before Night Falls," and you've got a cliched story with an unconvincing character at its center.

Still, "Second Skin" is great for refreshing your high school Spanish.

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