It should be most satisfying moment of his professional career: Garza (Omar Chapparo) is a police officer who has just captured the ruthless crime lord he’s been pursuing, Santos (Erick Elias). Unfortunately, before Garza got the cuffs on Santos, Santos murdered his partner. Three months later, Garza has managed keep it together, having met a beautiful bartender, Maria (Aislinn Derbez), but things take a turn for the worse when Santos arranges for her to be kidnapped, forcing Garza to help him escape prison, then framing him as an accomplice. Garza breaks out of police custody in the hopes of clearing his name, but to do so he’ll need the help of a young hacker named Vic (Joey Morgan), who was remotely involved in Santos’ books.
It’s a little ironic that the appeal of Compadres for American audiences will probably be a desire to see something a bit different or more adventurous than an American buddy comedy, because the movie’s biggest problem is that it feels like a throwback to the bad buddy comedies of the 1980s. There’s really nothing to recommend about this uninspired blend of gross-out humor (shit-filled toilets and dismembered fingers) and bland shoot-’em-up sequences, supposedly anchored by the amicable but unremarkable chemistry between Chapparo and Morgan, who are likable but basically just inspire a desire to watch them together in something better.
One of the weirdest things about Compadres is how it feels kind of like a trailer for a movie rather than the actual movie. The film already has a weird structure, with Chapparo’s dead partner feeling disconnected and unnecessary given his girlfriend is going to get kidnapped later (which also creates the sensation that the film takes 40 minutes to actually start), but there are ambitious but unsuccessful flash-forward / flash-backward sequences that double back on scenes that have already begun to show information we could’ve just been shown in sequence. The movie keeps jerking forward in the story unevenly, coasting over gaps of plot convenience and coincidence, all building toward two twists, one of which is predictable, the other of which is troubling.
The writing has other problems as well. The contrivance of having Maria kidnapped to motivate Garza is, as mentioned, seemingly unnecessary given the movie has already set up the death of Garza’s partner as the source of his thirst for revenge. The film is driven by several MacGuffins all tying into a larger plot that is never well-defined, because it’s hardly important in comparison to the revenge storyline and the growing friendship between Garza and Vic. There is one fairly well-orchestrated sequence inside a diner in which several characters, including a banker (Kevin Pollak), two hitmen, Garza, and Vic are moved around like chess pieces, but that is offset by head-slapping stupidity, such as a moment in which a random supporting character literally states the premise of Garza and vic’s friendship.
Most importantly, though, Compadres just isn’t particularly funny or interesting. Despite the double set-up, there’s no real comic or dramatic friction between Garza and Santos. There’s a bland subplot in which Vic has no experience with girls, so the script provides a hotel manager’s daughter as a picture perfect potential girlfriend. Most of the more exaggerated comic routines feel completely borrowed from other, better movies, including all-business Garza trying to move a body and a queasy Vic resisting, or a scene where Garza eats a can of chile con carne and then has to relieve himself at the same time the two hitmen show up to kill him. At one point, Vic even asks Garza to define “compadres” — a low point of stupidity for an already stupid movie.