Mariachi Gringo | Chicago Reader

Mariachi Gringo

Stifled by his white-bread parents and Kansas hometown, an aspiring young guitarist (Shawn Ashmore of the X-Men movies) falls under the sway of a local mariachi player and sets off for Guadalajara in search of musical authenticity and personal fulfillment. His dream might strike most Mexicans as the ultimate in white self-indulgence, though director Tom Gustafson manages to make the hero’s midwestern existence seem so stultifying that you can hardly blame him for hopping a bus out of town. His arrival on the famous Plaza de los Mariachis ultimately leads him into a friendship with a local firecracker (Martha Higareda) who manages a nearby restaurant, and from there to the town’s gay milieu. I must admit I was a little surprised by this development, but it nicely dilutes the rather obvious cultural ironies. In English and subtitled Spanish.

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