MA MA (director/writer: Julio Medem; cinematographer: Kiko de la Rica; editors: Julio Medem, Ivan Aledo; music: Alberto Iglesias; cast: Penelope Cruz (Magda), Luis Tosar (Arturo), Asier Etxeandia (Julián), Teo Planell (Dani), Silvia Abascal (Enfermera Quimioterapia), Alex Brendemühl (Raul); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Julio Medem/Alvaro Longoria; Oscilloscope Laboratories; 2015-Spain-in Spanish with English subtitles)

About as cheery as getting prepped for surgery.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A misfire shameless tearjerker by the once promising Spanish auteur Julio Medem (“Sex and Lucia”/”Earth”). In Madrid, the elementary school teacher Magda (Penelope Cruz), with an absentee teacher husband Raul (Alex Brendemühl) whom she dumps, is diagnosed with breast cancer and prepares to undergo a mastectomy. She then meets soccer scout Arturo (Luis Tosar) while watching in the stands her teen son (Teo Planell) play in a soccer match. When the scout receives a cell phone call that his wife is dying and his daughter was killed in a car accident, she comforts him at the hospital and they bond. We’re then forced to endure this ludicrous romantic melodrama that gives us a singing gynaecologist (Asier Etxeandia) who can’t sing and a saintly Cruz pulling on all the heartstrings. It’s a poorly made sentimental disease-of-the-week melodrama, that is about as cheery as getting prepped for surgery

REVIEWED ON 12/21/2016 GRADE: C-