Hilarious and fast-paced, Toc Toc is one of those charming comedies that most people will like. Based on a play, it features strong and well-developed characters. After a couple of pretty average entries in the last couple of years, we finally got some competition for Torrente. I just loved its edgy and dark sense of humor. The opening sequence was hysterically funny and this got me scared because Wave of Crimes, another Spanish comedy, started the same way. And then just got average. However, Toc Toc continues with force and the fact that it’s unfolding in real-time is only fueling its breakneck tempo.
If you’re not familiar with Spanish cinema, you might find all this a bit confusing and too fast. I had a similar problem when I first started watching French movies with their rapid-fire exchanges. They’re not waiting for you to react but keep on piling jokes trying to overwhelm you. With great production values and an appealing visual style, Toc Toc is rivaling any other Hollywood movie. Director Vicente Villanueva managed to create a very vibrant and uplifting atmosphere. And since the movie is happening in a doctor’s office, done wonders with camera-work.
A clinic specializing in treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (or TOC in Spanish) just updated its software. Hopefully, this should help with the scheduling problems they’ve been having. However, one after another, patients start appearing in the waiting room. They all have been scheduled for the same time and what follows can only be described as a disaster.
I know we’re talking about a refreshing and authentic comedy here, but I have to rant a bit. Mostly because it’s so important to talk about our mental health. A lot of people are suffering right now. And not just from some form of OCD. Most of their problems are brought on by rampant capitalism. Capitalism that’s only a manifestation of the outdated tribal system of values. A system that we can’t seem to get rid of. A system that’s causing more and more people to experience mental health issues. And you better not tell anyone about problems you’re having. Because you’ll be treated exactly how you would expect to be treated in a tribal society. Your genes and your entire personality are faulty and you should be removed from society. Or at least made fun of in an attempt to close off any opportunities for your further interactions.
Toc Toc is not doing that, just to be clear. This is perhaps the saddest thing about this movie. The fact that some of us will watch it and laugh, fully aware of these issues. Some will watch it, laugh, and then think about mental health issues in a different light. However, most people will watch it and laugh as an expression of their tribal values. Not thinking about how complex and important this issue is. Not to mention their interactions with people in the real world. I also have to admit that I went through some of the issues talked about here. Especially that paranoia about locked doors, faucets, and stoves. So, if you’re looking for a fun and quirky European comedy, look no further than Toc Toc.
Director: Vicente Villanueva
Writers: Laurent Baffie (play), Vicente Villanueva
Cast: Paco León, Alexandra Jiménez, Rossy de Palma, Nuria Herrero, Adrián Lastra, Oscar Martínez, Ana Rujas
Fun Facts: Every character name has something to do with their issue.