The spectre of Pedro Almodóvar hangs over Ramón Salazar's
20 CENTIMETERS, which combines old-fashioned, Hollywood-
  inspired musical numbers with a rather trite love story. The central
  character is Adolfo, a preoperative transsexual who goes by the name
  of Marieta (portrayed by Mónica Cervera). Marieta turns tricks in order
  to earn money for her final surgery. She also suffers from narcolepsy
  which has a tendency to strike at inappropriate times. While
  experiencing these episodes, Marieta imagines herself as the star
  of these wild musical numbers.
          The film opens as she is pushed out of a truck in the middle of
  nowhere and falls asleep. She then performs the Spanish song
  "Tómbola" before awakening and heading back to her home in Madrid.
  There, she shares an apartment with the dwarf Tomas (Miguel
  O'Dogherty) in a building populated by a group of oddballs, among
  them Berta (Concha Galán), who has a child and engages in schemes
  to get money to travel to Brazil.

          While out shopping one day, Marieta spies Raul (Pablo Puyol),
  a fruit stocker. After experiencing one of her episodes, Marieta
  finds herself in the hospital with Raul posing as her husband. They
  begin a tentative romance but Marieta is stunned to learn that
  Raul doesn't have any problems with those 20 centimeters; in fact,
  he enjoys them. Torn between her desire to be a full woman and
  her attraction to Raul, Marieta has to decide just what's best for her.

          The film's comedy is hit or miss with some sequences achieving
  a high level of wit and others trafficking in lowbrow humor. There's
  a terrific sequence where Marieta goes for a job interview and the
  uptight woman is confused as she expects "Adolfo."

          Cervera anchors the film with the performance but she is a little
  weak in the singing department, so some of the musical sequences
  lack the pizazz they should have. Puyol, a professional singer as well
  as an actor, does better in the musical numbers, but  is somewhat
  wan when in other scenes. There are affecting cameos by Rossy
  de Palma as a fellow streetwalker and Lola Dueñas as a shopkeeper.

          20 CENTIMETERS will appeal to a select audience but they
  probably won't be disappointed.

                                   Rating:        B
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
20 Centimeters (20 centímetros)