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A Day Without a Mexican (2004)

Caroline Aaron , Tony Abatemarco , Sergio Arau  |  R |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Caroline Aaron, Tony Abatemarco, Melinda Allen, Frankie J. Allison, Fernando Arau
  • Directors: Sergio Arau
  • Writers: Yareli Arizmendi, Sergio Arau, Sergio Guerrero
  • Producers: Bruce A. Simon, Francisco González Compeán, Isaac Artenstein, Sergio Guerrero
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Xenon
  • DVD Release Date: November 9, 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002VEZ3U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,245 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Day Without a Mexican" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

California awakens one day to discover that one third of its population has vanished. A peculiar pink fog surrounds the state and communication outside its boundaries has completely shut down. As the day progresses, it becomes apparent that the sole characteristic linking the missing 14 million is their Hispanic heritage.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Social satire really needs to be savage and not so subtle December 20, 2004
It is easy to think of Sergio Arau's 2004 film "A Day Without a Mexican" as a great idea poorly executed, especially when you check out the original 1998 short film version provided on the DVD. In both versions the citizens of California wake up one day and discover that all the "Mexicans" are gone. Actually, it is all the Latinos in the state, but as several people are quick to point out, everybody from South of the Border is a "Mexican," even if they come from Guatemala or some other place (like Israel or Armenia). "A Day Without a Mexican" attempts to show what would happen to California if suddenly one-third of its population disappeared.

But whereas the original short film sticks to the mocumentary approach, the full-length feature tries to be a real film as well. In addition to working in many of the bits from the original short film, Arau now includes several narrative threads following Caucasians with strong ties to missing Latinos: Mary Jo Quintana (Maureen Flannigan) is a school teacher whose husband and son have disappeared; State Senator Steven Abercombie III (John Getz) and his family have to overcome the loss of their maid (now they cannot get the peanut butter off the top shelf) and then he becomes the acting governor; and television news anchor Vicki Martin (Suzanne Friedline) is concerned about the station's missing weatherman. Then there is television news reporter Lila Rodriguez (Yareli Arizmendi, the co-writer and wife of the director), who would appear to be the only Latina who has not disappeared from California. Meanwhile, an eerie pink fog has surrounded the state, cutting it off from the rest of the world.

The result is a hit and miss proposition.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Moral Comedy March 28, 2005
The premise is as simple as it is ridiculous: California's day-laborers, domestic helpers and agricultural workers of hispanic descent are disappearing. Fast. The obvious consequences could be dismissed as farcical -- if less poignant. But the meaning is made quite real in ways personal as well as economic and political.

The story focuses on a young journalist's attempt to document the disappearances. There is a plot twist, which some may suspect a little before the end. The key themes of this movie could be summed up as (1) not all hispanics are Mexicans; and (2) some hispanics are not Mexicans. You'll understand why those are actually different statements after you see the movie.

The most remarkable thing about this movie is that it casts a bright light on often deliberately overlooked aspects of our uneasy relationship with our neighbors, without becoming preachy. Instead, infectious humor informs a border-defying humanity. Gringo's are not automatically painted as either Racist Neocons or Syncretic Liberals -- those these are certainly presented. Instead, each character is revealed through the deeds which define him.

Watch for the name of the band. I just about fell over laughing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taking Jabs At California Prejudices October 14, 2006
Trying to conceive of a "Left Behind" style film happening to a specific race in a specific State is pretty out there. But director Sergio Arau does so admirably in A DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN.

Part comedy, part mockumentary, the film's liberal leanings are sure to turn some viewers off. Taking consistent jabs at prejudices (and hitting their target more often than not), the film takes on the premise that a strange, magical fog has surrounded California one fateful day, blocking all incoming and outgoing traffic, internet access, and all forms of communication. And this weird atmospheric disturbance has also taken away all of the Mexicans. The disruption to the Sunshine State is evident as fruit rots on trees, vegetable aisles in grocery stores go empty, and car wash patrons have to dry their own cars!

Lilia Rod(riguez) played by Yareli Arizmendi (LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE) is a televison news reporter who DOESN'T disappear. The supernatural phenomenon seems to have passed her by even though she's Mexican. Or is she? More unseen prejudices arise as we learn that most Anglos label anyone with a coppery-toned complexion as "Mexican." Lilia learns her true genetic heritage along the way but feels, in her heart, that she's Mexican and promptly vanishes in front of a televison audience.

John Getz (BLOOD SIMPLE) plays Senator Abercrombie who has to take on the position of California Governor Pro-Tem, as the current Governor and Lieutenant Governor were Mexican. Thrown into the spotlight, the new Gov has to deal with all of the chaos caused by the disappearances as well as the disruptions to his own household when their maid/nanny/cook vanishes.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but wanders March 21, 2005
I'll allow a movie three impossible things to get itself moving. After that, is has to follow its own rules.
1) Suddenly, a purple fog appears around California, isolating it from radio, internet, phone, and travel in or out.
2) Suddenly, all the Mexicans in California swiftly and silently vanish away.
3) No third one, two was enough.

Once started, it wanders pleasantly between a plotless assortment of vignettes: a wife whose husband and son disappeared, a Latina reporter who didn't (!), a clueless governor pro tem whose naivete borders on racism, and a farmer's son who's blatantly anti-Latino. Parts of it are funny - like the fact that being "Mexican" has little to do with Mexico. Parts are warm and touching, and a few very human surprises keep it from dragging.

There's a political subtext, rubbed in our collective faces with occasional comments scrawled on-screen. It never crosses into the shrill, however. The director has the good sense to realize that I'd turn off a blatant rant. He also knows that, if he wants to make use of my attention, he'd better give something in return - and what a movie returns is amusement. I consider myself repaid, mostly.

It wanders back and forth between a few sub-plots, and it has a happy ending. It's pleasant and just a little thought provoking, but I don't feel that my library needs it.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
Hi watched this movie a long time ago, and finally i bought it. Is a good movie in my opinion
Published 2 months ago by Ruben
5.0 out of 5 stars EYE OPENING. FUNNY
This movie humorously and cleverly depicts how the state of California would basically shut down without Mexicans. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Robin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
It really opens your eyes to see what a bummer it is without our friends from Mexico. Must see movie!
Published 2 months ago by Deborah M Grabman
1.0 out of 5 stars Just A Rating
I did not like this movie and do not recommend it but I am not a film critic so I will leave that up to someone more qualified.
Published 2 months ago by TJ Phelps
2.0 out of 5 stars Duh!
Too cliche. I would not recommend buying it. I was afraid it would be this way, and it was. Good for young people, maybe. Good morality tale.
Published 4 months ago by Deborah A. Morseth
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD- day without a Mexican
You one of those people that bitch about a Mexican in this country. watch this and then think twice before you twist your lips to bitch about them being here
Published 4 months ago by Jewell Wooten
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Informative Film
We have enjoyed and learned so much from this film that we have given it as a gift. Very timely and informative.
Published 4 months ago by Saundra T. Dougherty
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Loved the movie. I think it really gives people somthing to think about .WHAT would happen if they all disapeared?
Published 6 months ago by Tanya Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
A great movie that shows another side of live without Mexicans in our lives! i never would have realized the impact, without this movie!.
Published 8 months ago by Wendy Serrano
2.0 out of 5 stars Dumb...
This could've been a great film, because I am Mexican and I like the humor, but the production was just awful and boring. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Azalia Rodriguez
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