The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #17 September / October 2015
At the Cinema
Cambio de Ruta
by Erik Zidowecki
September / October 2015 | 

The theme behind this month's film is "Always pursue your dream". It is also "Take a chance on love". There is also a third one: "We must learn about the natural world around us, respect it, and always protect it".

That's right. Cambio de Ruta has three themes, which it attempts to address equally, and it more or less succeeds.

Nicté (pronounced "Nik-tay") is a tour guide for Tours Tours on the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Actually, she is the best tour guide, as shown by her earning the "employee of the month" eighteen times in a row. Her tours are magical and loved by everyone because of her passion and devotion to nature.

Cambio de Ruta has three themes, which it attempts to address equally, and it more or less succeeds.

It comes as no surprise then that after the little tour company is sold to a larger company that she clashes with the new owners who are more focused on profits and corporate image than they are on the people and the environment. After several confrontations with Julia, the woman in charge of corporate image, Nicté quits, and ends up in the local bar where her father's band plays, getting drunk. She tearfully tells her father the story, but he is eternally optimistic, as is Nicté's mother, and they push her to start her own tour company. The next morning, she convinces her long time friend Dimento to also quit and be her partner.

Meanwhile, the new owner of Tours Tours has sent his son, Cristóbal , to make sure everything is being handled properly. The women handling it have plans to destroy the local mangrove swamps to build a huge tourist complex, which Cristóbal finds out about, but Julia works to convince him that is for the best for everyone. Cristóbal decides to call his father for help with the decision.

Julia teaching Nicté and the other Tours Tours employees the new way to handle customers

While on the phone, however, Nicté and Dimento invite Cristóbal to be their first customer, not knowing who he is. He has a wonderful time on the tour, which is mostly him and Nicté being along in many beautiful spots while she constantly tells him how important nature is. Naturally, they fall in love with each other.

Both Julia and Nicté see an upcoming competition by the magazine "Tour Guide" as being the key to their future success. Julia fools Cristóbal into signing a form which revokes Nicté's tour guide license, so Nicté cannot win the contest. When Nicté finds out, she is furious at Cristóbal and believes he was just trying to get close to her so he could do this (which doesn't make sense, since he could sign the paper without ever even meeting her, but this is a romantic comedy), and refuses to talk or even listen to him again. She and Dimento enter the contest anyways.

Nicté and Cristóbal having a perfect time on the beach

There is a single judge for the Mexico branch of the contest, Telenovela star Eric del Castillo, and after he takes a tour with Tours Tours (now Arroyo Tours), he takes the tour with Nicté. He naturally has the best time of his life, but when Nicté admits she temporarily doesn't have her license, he says he has to adhere to the standards of the contest, telling her he will try to sway the panel towards her.

The plot is straight forward and obvious, and you can no doubt already guess the ending. The film was entertaining, but unfortunately, I never really got drawn into it. Nicté is too perfect, and she is never really in any hardship. Even when she thinks that Cristóbal had betrayed her, you already know they will make up at the end of the film, so there is no real tension.

Nicté and Dimento discussing how to build their new tour business

In fact, the entire film has more of a "made for television" feel to it, with music playing over almost every scene. The scenery is fantastic, being shot on location in various spots of Mexico, but the characters are all very one-dimensional. Nicté is adorable and fragile. Dimento is her supportive sidekick. Cristóbal is the handsome pawn who gets the girl. Julia is the manipulative rival who will get what she deserves in the end. I was surprised the whole thing didn't have a big "Disney" stamp on it, since nothing ever really rose above a teen level of drama. Nicté is hurt, but never devastated. Cristóbal never really shows any passion for anything. Julia is a rich snob, but not menacing. The only character who really seems to have actual passion is Eric, playing himself.

Julia trying to seduce Cristóbal so he won't ask more questions about their activities

There were a few other problems that bothered me in terms of the plot. Tours Tours is bought by Arroyo Tour Associates, a major company. Tours Tours' previous owner retires with plenty of money (he calls himself a billionaire), so the company must have already been very successful, as Arroyo Tours must also be. So why is winning a contest in a magazine the key to future success for them? Until Nicté starts her two person tour business, they are the only ones in the area.

Second, as I already mentioned, if Cristóbal could revoke Nicté's license without even meeting her, why does Nicté believe he had to get close to her to do it? Indeed, why does Arroyo Tours have the right to simply revoke the license of a former employee? Surely she must have to be licensed by some larger organization, or else her license would have been automatically revoked when she quit.

Lastly, Nicté takes her tourists to the same locations she did as part of Tours Tours, including the mangrove swamps, so it is assumed these are open to the public. So how does Arroyo Tours have the right to destroy the swamp and build there?

Nicté and Dimento with Eric, before they take him on the best tour of his life

The film takes place in Mexico and is all in Spanish. There is a single scene in it which might appeal to language lovers when Nicté invites a Mayan man and his son onto their tour truck for a ride back to town. Eric is impressed that Nicté can speak Mayan. But of course she can. She is perfect.

Cambio de Ruta is a cute film, worth watching for the scenery, but that is about it. If you enjoy obvious romantic plots, you might enjoy it a little more, but it left me feeling let down at the end. Actually, it didn't really leave me feeling anything, because that is how much emotional energy it invoked.

At The Cinema - Cambio de Ruta
Writer: Erik Zidowecki
• "Cambio de Ruta" Internet Movie Database <>
All images are copyright Bazooka Films, Salamandra Films, Bazooka Films, Itaca Films

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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