Everyone has heard of love triangles; what we have in The Other Side of the Bed (original title: El otro lado de la cama) is a love quadrangle... with a few other angles thrown in as the film moves along. Meet Javier, Sonia, Paula, and Pedro: two sets of best friends who happen to also be doing some bed-hopping and boyfriend/girlfriend-swapping, while trying to keep their indiscretions under wraps and their relationships headed the way they want... assuming, that is, that any of them can figure out what they really want.
So far we have the ingredients for a funny romantic comedy, and The Other Side of the Bed fits the bill nicely, with clear-cut characters who end up in a variety of humorous situations. While the plot stays grounded in the more-or-less realistic romantic troubles of the protagonists, the film also has a nice sense of the absurd, as demonstrated in a number of minor touches, like the detective who has truly off-the-wall theories about celebrity deaths.
But where The Other Side of the Bed gets really creative is in the fact that it's a musical. No, really, it is: at various points, the characters break out into song to express their feelings, and passers-by enthusiastically take part by dancing or by singing the chorus. It's very strange... quite unique... and it completely works. The film's sense of humor about itself, and its sense of the absurd in general, come together to make the musical segments both funny and clever. It doesn't hurt matters at all that the songs are quite catchy, too.
With a running time just a notch under two hours, The Other Side of the Bed keeps a good pace throughout the film, with various complications being introduced and dealt with. The ending doesn't have as much comedic punch as we might hope for, but it's reasonably well done. All in all, The Other Side of the Bed offers a generous helping of laughs and a genuinely fresh and charming take on its material.
Let's get the worst part of the transfer out of the way right off: the English subtitles are burned-in. Yes, even though they look like player-generated titles, they can't be turned off. What's even more annoying is the placement of the subtitles: even though the 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the image would have allowed for the subtitles to be placed on the bottom black bar, the subtitles are superimposed over the image, and often distractingly high up in the image to boot. So all in all, the video score for The Other Side of the Bed got knocked down quite a bit due to this inexcusable fumble.
As for the rest of the transfer, it's quite good. The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and is anamorphically enhanced. Colors are bright and vivid, skin tones are natural, and contrast is handled well. The print is clean and free of any noise.
The Spanish Dolby 5.1 track offers a very pleasing listening experience. Overall, the sound is clear and crisp, allowing all the dialogue to be conveyed exactly right. The music is perfectly balanced with the dialogue, never overly loud or too soft. And for a mainly dialogue-driven film, there's even a reasonable amount of surround usage, at least in the musical numbers.
English subtitles are included, but unfortunately they are not optional.
The U.S. theatrical trailer is included, and even if you don't normally watch trailers, it's worth checking out this one, as it's very clever and captures the tone of the film without giving anything away.
The only other real special feature is a 1-minute "director's introduction," which is an assemblage of clips of director Emilio Martínez-Lázaro commenting on the film. It's in Spanish, with (non-optional) English subtitles. These clips look as though they were taken from a longer interview (in fact, he seems to be cut off at least once in the middle of a sentence), so it's unfortunate that we don't get the whole thing.
Lastly, there's a text description of the Sundance Film Series and a trailer for the films in that series.
The Other Side of the Bed was nominated for a Goya Award for Best Film, and I can see why it was a contender: it's a funny and charming film that dares to be different, blending conventional romantic comedy with musical interludes. While the burned-in English subtitles make the otherwise solid transfer a disappointment, it's still worth a solid "recommended."