Ready To Mingle – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: When Ana (Cassandra Ciangherotti) gets dumped by Gabriel (Pablo Cruz) she is heartbroken. Six months later, she finds out he is getting married. Bemoaning her lot, she takes the advice of a friend and goes on a course that is designed to help women get a husband.

Is it any good?: Ready to Mingle or Solteras – the original Mexican title – is an amusing comedy. With a brilliant central performance by Cassandra Ciangherotti as the self-centred and marriage hungry Ana, Solteras rattles swiftly through its ninety-five-minute runtime.

Spoiler territory: Ana is at a wedding with her boyfriend, Gabriel. She wants to know where their relationship is going. He does not want to talk about it. Ana persists. She wants to get married. Gabriel tells her it would be better if they split up. Ana immediately regrets her decision to push Gabriel into talking about their relationship and begs him not to break up with her. They split up.

Six months later, Ana is going to her parents’ house to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Her sister, Julia (Diana Bovio) and husband, Emilio (Andrés Almeida) are there along with other guests. Much to Ana’s dismay, one of her cousins, Tamara (Lucia Uribe), is engaged to be married.

Ana corners her in the bathroom and bullies her into revealing how she got a husband. Tamara tells her she went to a workshop. Ana continues to drink heavily as the party goes on, feeling increasingly lonely and morose. Her sister puts her into a taxi to send her home. Instead, a still drunk Ana goes to Gabriel’s home.

She takes her clothes off, intending to surprise him and ends up flashing him, his parents and the parents of his fiancé, Ingrid (Tatiana del Real). A humiliated Ana leaves and goes home. The next day, Ana calls Tamara to get details of the workshop.

She goes to the workshop. There are four other women in the workshop; Ilse (Irán Castillo), Sandra (Sophie Alexander-Katz), Lola (Flor Eduarda Gurrola), Ema (Mariana Cabrera), plus the instructor, Lucila (Gabriela de la Garza). Ana leaves the workshop, feeling it is not for her.

After her car breaks down on the way home and having to get help from her sister, who tells her some home truths, Ana returns to the workshop the next day. All the ladies get a makeover. They are also told where to go to look for a prospective husband. Lucila tells them they have to get a date before the next class.

Ana goes to the gym. After a few unsuccessful flirtations, she meets Rodrigo (Francisco de la Reguera). They go out and, even though Lucila advised them not to sleep with a date on the first night, sleeps with him. Whilst on a call with the other girls during the night, he disappears.

Ana continues to go on a string of unsuccessful dates. At her wit’s end, she goes to a local store to buy some beer. The cashier asks her for ID. Unable to produce any, she asks a man in the shop to buy the beer for her. He obliges. Outside she meets him. He is Diego (Juan Pablo Medina).

They go on a date to the cinema. Ana meets up with the women. Diego has not contacted her for a couple of weeks. Ana goes on another date. Whilst on the date she gets a call from Diego. She leaves the date. She begins seeing Diego. The relationship is going well and she is excited to tell the other women about it. Her success is overshadowed by Ema. Ema has got engaged.

Ana finds it difficult to hide her frustration. Back in the workshop, Lucila is telling the ladies various techniques to utilise so as they might find out if the man they are with wants to marry or not. Ana and Diego go away for the weekend, a romantic getaway. Whilst out walking, Ana thinks Diego is going to propose to her but is disappointed when she notices he is just tying his shoelace.

Back at the villa, they are staying at, Ana decides on a course of action. She tells Diego she is pregnant. He is overcome with happiness and immediately proposes to her. Back in the city, Ana tells the ladies that she is engaged. They are all happy for her. Ana feels guilty for duping Diego. Lucila asks her how she managed to get engaged and Ana confesses she lied to Diego.

Ana takes Diego to meet her family. Her parents are not getting along very well. When the family find out she is getting married they are not particularly thrilled. Julia guesses she is pregnant and that is why she is getting married so quickly. The next day, an unhappy Ana goes to see her parents, not pleased at their treatment of Diego. They tell her that they are getting divorced. Ana reacts badly.

The ladies all go out to try on wedding dresses. Gabriel walks pass the shop and sees Ana. He and Ingrid come into the shop. The ladies insult Ingrid who drags Gabriel out of the store. Later that evening, Gabriel comes to see Ana and tells her he misses her. Ana is almost taken in by his charm until he admits that he is still with Ingrid and just wants a fling.

Ana goes to see Lucila, hoping to get some solace from her predicament. Lucila tells her that once she is married she will be fine. Ana is not so sure. She decides to confess the truth to Diego. They split up. Ana goes to see her sister. Julia tells her she needs to get her life together. Ana agrees. Ana gets her life together.

All of the ladies see one another at Ema’s wedding. Ana is much happier and her life more together. She is still single, all the ladies, including Ana, enjoy the wedding. The end.

Solteras – Ready to Mingle – is an amusing comedy written and directed by Luis Javier Henaine, with an additional writing credit for Alejandra Olvera Avila. With amusing characters and a quirky premise, Ready to Mingle is an enjoyable romp with Ciangherotti’s Ana a selfish yet likeable presence driving proceedings.

You feel a little sorry for the Ana as she desperately, from the opening scene, tries to find a husband. This is in no way a film for modern times. Though it, at the very end, espouses the message of not needing a man to be whole, for the most part, it shows and portrays its characters as needing a husband to make their lives whole.

With the de la Garza’s Lucila is an extreme example of the type of relationship guru that now populates online spaces promising to help desperate singletons find love. Unlike the many online experts, who tend to soft-sell the art of relations, Lucila brutally tells the women what they must do to attain a husband.

All of the actors are great in their respective roles and even the smallest roles add to the humour of the overall story. Some may find the end a little unsatisfying, if the five-point nine score on IMDB is anything to go by, but Ready to Mingle is an enjoyable ninety-five minutes to waste on Netflix.

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