Plot: “A man who has made a new life for himself and the daughter left on his doorstep 6 years ago finds his family threatened when the birth mother resurfaces.” (imdb.com)
Director: Eugenio Derbez
Stars: Eugenio Derbez, Loreto Peralta, Jessica Lindsey
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Instructions Not Included (original title: No se aceptan devoluciones) is a heartwarming film about a man called Valentin (Eugenio Derbez) and his daughter Maggie (Loreto Peralta). Valentin, an unemployed playboy from Acapulco gets the surprise of his life when one day an old flame, Julie (Jessica Lindsey), knocks on his door. She is holding a baby and claiming it’s his. She hands him her infant daughter and rushes down the stairs, never to be seen again. Valentin, not knowing the first thing about babies and not wanting one, decides to abandon his current lifestyle and try to locate the child’s mother all the way to Los Angeles.
Valentin and Maggie move to Los Angeles and, in order to support himself and his daughter, he becomes a Hollywood stuntman. With a beautiful montage that covers 6 years, we see Maggie growing up and Valentin becoming a better father to her as every day goes by. Maggie, who is a bilingual adorable girl, helps her father communicate with people since he hasn’t been able to learn english, even after 6 years of living in America.
Things go sour when Maggie’s mum, Julie, returns unexpectedly and wants to be a part of Maggie’s life. With her living in New York now and Maggie in Los Angeles, she quickly realises she doesn’t want to see her daughter only every few months and decides to take the case to court to win full custody of Maggie.
I don’t want to spoil the ending for you (in case you haven’t seen it) but let’s just say that the film takes a surprisingly dark turn towards the end, that will make you say “I should have seen it coming”. But this dark turn is what makes the film so much more interesting and memorable, in my opinion. It doesn’t end in a way that you would expect, but in a way that would make you think “damn, this film was really bloody good”.
Sweet and funny father-daughter moments with an obvious chemistry between the two leads. A perfect film to watch with your family/loved ones or alone (especially if you want to shed a tear or two at the end and you don’t want any witnesses). Enjoy!