Latina filmmaker Gabriela Tagliavini has experienced what it’s like to date a douchebag. She was in a relationship, she said, that “went south pretty quickly,” but admits she stayed committed for a few years hoping things would go back to normal. They never did and Tagliavini, who is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, decided that enough was enough and simply walked away. Looking back on the relationship now, she wishes she had a friend in her life like the main character of her new Spanish-language romantic comedy How to Break Up with Your Douchebag (Cómo cortar a tu patán).
In Douchebag, actress Mariana Treviño (Club de Cuervos) plays Amanda, a break-up specialist who is hired by unhappy women to help them sabotage their own relationships. For example, in one of the film’s early montage scenes, Amanda advises a woman to fill her home with a bunch of books on babies and motherhood. When the woman’s significant other sees the books, he runs for the hills. Thus, their relationship is destroyed without any confrontation or real closure.
Amanda is thrown into an awkward position when she finds out her sister Natalia (Camila Sodi) has fallen in love with Pepe (Sebastián Zurita), a douchebag of her own. With help from Natalia’s best friend Leo (Christopher Von Uckermann), the duo attempts to expose Pepe for the jerk that he is while sorting out their own feelings for one another.
Despite her best efforts, Tagliavini, who also directed Ladies’ Night, Without Men and Border Run, offers some ineffective voice over narration for Amanda to sort through her thoughts and feelings throughout the film. Some of the more creative scenes also do not hit high with humor. In one odd instance of magical realism, Amanda imagines that bottles of yogurt in her refrigerator have the heads of ex-lovers and speak to her. The script doesn’t add up to much – the sitcom-worthy situations are delivered by mostly annoying characters. The upbeat soundtrack includes a mashup of catchy tunes from different genres like surfer rock, mariachi and even Indian music.
During an interview with Remezcla, Tagliavini talked about why a job like Amanda’s could be useful for couples, and explains her definition of a douchebag. She also tells us about her own experience dating a douche and how that relationship finally ended.
On Her Research into How People Break Up
“Yes, I want douchebags, cheaters and liars to see the movie. Maybe they’ll realize they did something bad and they’ll want to change and want to be a better person.”
I took a lot of stories from friends and investigated online about how to break up with someone. I did a lot of research. There are books about how to break up and how to let go of bad relationships. I had one very bad boyfriend who started very good. [The film] is not just my experience, but experiences from women that I’ve encountered.
On a Career Focused on Breaking Couples Up
I think there should be a job like that. Usually people go to relationship counselors or couple’s therapy when they want to get back together and solve their problems. But I think there should be someone who helps you break up, too. It would be very practical. I’ve had people who see the movie tell me after, “I want someone like that!” Maybe after this movie comes out, there will be a new profession.
On Why the Female Characters Need Help Breaking Up with Their Douchebags
Sometimes you’re in denial or you think that person is going to change. You stay, but your hope and expectations are not met. These are women that are not capable of breaking up themselves. It’s a comedy. I mean, I agree with you that the best thing is to tell the truth, but sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes people have to be passive aggressive.
On the Cinderella Complex, or the Idea That Women Need Someone to Take Care of Them
I think that some women have that complex. I think what I tried to do with this movie is show the women that that’s not the way to go. They should be independent. They can use their own brain.
On How She Defines a Douchebag
It can be someone that cheats on you or someone that lies or someone that doesn’t treat you right emotionally or physically. The word douchebag is funny. A lot of times, these guys are very charismatic and funny. That’s how they get the women to like them. It was important for me to portray the douchebag as a likeable character instead of just a bad guy so people can understand their behavior is working for a reason. They have a technique that is very appealing to women.
On Whether or Not She Thinks Pepe is a Likeable Character (He’s Not)
Yes. I picked Sebastián Zurita for that reason. Obviously, he knows he’s doing bad things. He’s likeable in a way because he’s funny and seductive. When I met with Sebastián, I already had pick-up lines in the script, but I asked him if he had any other suggestions because I like to improvise. He came in with a notebook filled with pick-up lines. I thought it was hilarious that he came prepared to sort of catch his prey.
On Why She Wants Actual Douchebags to See Her Movie
Yes, I want douchebags, cheaters and liars to see the movie. Maybe they’ll realize they did something bad and they’ll want to change and want to be a better person. I don’t know if the movie will do that. That requires inner strength. But I have heard from womanizers who have seen [Douchebag] and they think it’s funny. They recognize themselves in the movie. But they’re not telling me they want to change.