This bilingual romantic comedy is overly long and has a paper-thin plot, but it’s too sweet-natured to dislike. Alex (Jaime Camil), a Mexico City mariachi singer and single father, applies for a U.S. visa for his 9-year-old daughter under the false belief that she’d be better off being raised by his late wife’s American parents. His application is promptly denied by Rachel (Laura Ramsey), a brusque but beautiful embassy official. That night, Alex’s band performs at an embassy party, after which Alex rescues a drunken Rachel, who awakes to find that she’s lost her boss’s laptop. Hoping to prove his worth and score that precious visa, Alex convinces Rachel that he has the street-level connections necessary to find the computer. In Pulling Strings, which features the great Stockard Channing as Rachel’s mother, director Pitipol Ybarra has devised a love letter to Mexico City, a place so quaint that a young man stops Alex on the street and begs him to sing an “I’m sorry” song to his angry girlfriend, who’s standing on a balcony above. Alex complies, in one of several musical numbers that lift this movie above the commonplace. The Brazilian-born Camil sings like a lovelorn angel; no wonder Rachel swoons.
Pitipol YbarraJaime Camil, Omar Chaparro, Laura RamseyLionsgate Films