Don’t Tempt Me

Intermittently imaginative comedy kept afloat by star power, Don't Tempt Me (the direct translation of the original Spanish title, No News from God, is much better) is about an angel (Victoria Abril) and a demon (Penélope Cruz) both sent to Earth to fight over the soul of a loser boxer (Demián Bichir) who is on the verge of being killed - either in the boxing ring or on the streets by a corrupt pair of cops whom he owes money. The boxer's fate, for reasons coyly skirted around, carries great significance for both Heaven and Hell. Heaven (pictured as a black and white Parisian fantasia) is a nearly bankrupt paradise co-managed by Abril's boss, French actress Fanny Ardent, whereas Hell is a combination prison/high-rise corporation whose current manager, Mexican "It" boy Gael García Bernal (Y Tu Mamá También), is worried that his old-school style of devilish dealmaking is in danger of being usurped by a committee of soulless British bean counters. And so the strings get pulled on Abril and Cruz, back and forth, as they in turn try to sway Bichir to each other's side.

This is a very light movie (though it has plenty of violence and bloodletting, which isn't uncommon in Spanish cinema), and Yanes' script, despite some clever twists, isn't meaty enough to leave any lasting impression. Starring two of Spain's most popular actresses, however, it's highly acceptable as a star vehicle (though Bernal steals all of his scenes and Ardant simply needs to smile to win our affections), and both do well in offbeat, showy roles. If you're a fan of either actress, you'll enjoy the film. But if you miss it, there's no great loss.