An Invisible Father
The Magician In His Labyrinth
The Echoes of Absence
A New Family
Toccata and Flight
Easy to Get Into
On paper, The Unremarkable Juanquini’s synopsis is actually pretty funny; a mediocre magician makes someone important disappear at a birthday party and struggles to bring them back, bringing with it a whole wave of hilarity and awkwardness as this man is thrust into a world of uncertainty and danger. Unfortunately, The Unremarkable Juanquini proves that a funny idea is not enough to bring a scripted series to life and unfortunately slips up where it really matters.
When it comes to comedies – especially ones that rely on a one-trick pony like this – sometimes less is more. The story revolves around family man Juan Morales who scrapes a living performing as a magician called Juanquini at children’s birthday parties. Unfortunately his tricks aren’t very good and although his family do their best to support him, it’s obvious something needs to change. When Juan manages to perfect the first part of a disappearing act, Mafia boss Nato is the one who’s on the receiving end of the disappearing, putting Juanquini in a very difficult position with both the police that were hunting him down and the mafia themselves.
This ultimately forms the crux of the narrative and as the episodes tick by, it’s obvious that The Unremarkable Juanquini is pretty unremarkable in the way it evolves and fleshes this idea out. Without giving too much away, the plot takes an unexpected turn at the halfway point and never fully recovers, bringing with it several different familial sub-plots and a more convoluted plot than is necessary.
All of this builds up to the finale where the final twist in the tale is revealed but along the way Juanquini throws numerous different narrative turns into the fold and at times it actually detracts from what little promise this had early on.
Comedy is subjective of course and there will undoubtedly be a crowd for this. It’s not a particularly challenging or difficult watch and this Colombian comedy is light and breezy enough that you can stick it on without taking it too seriously. The 7 episodes clock in between 25 and 38 minutes while the jokes come thick and fast.
Unfortunately the jokes themselves feel like they’re trying far too hard at times and ironically the best moments come from when the actors’ nuanced deliveries of lines or a few seconds of light slapstick dotted through the episodes. Other gags – like Samuel’s tirade about his missing cat in the first episode – drag on for far too long and lose any impact they may have had early on.
Visually, the show does look pretty good. Keeping with the magician theme is an abundance of brightly dressed sets and each scene pops with a vibrancy of colour too. Expect lots of saturation here and simple but effective camera angles that keep things consistent.
To summarize, The Unremarkable Juanquini is not a remarkable comedy, nor is it particularly magical. The plot tries far too hard and it dilutes the impact of the main plot while the exaggerated and ill-timed jokes means the comedy misses more than it hits. Of course, there are still elements here to like but given the sheer number of other comedies out there, Juanquini is one that’s likely to disappear pretty quickly off the streaming platform’s front page and your memory.