Sponsored by Ben Greeley
It’s starting out like just another aimless day down Montevideo way for a trio of teenage buddies, until the luckless Leche steps in it—literally. Scraping off his shoe, he bemoans this omen that he’s doomed—for the nth time—to flunk the Italian test standing between him and high school graduation. More important, it bodes ill for the crush he has on his older tutor. Javi’s action-packed schedule includes driving around town with speakers on his roof blasting commercials and watching his girlfriend drift out of his life. Seba, the dimmest bulb among these likable losers, has no plans at all. Given to genial putdowns and arguing over things like who started a catchphrase, los tres amigos find a kind of reassuring comfort in routine, repetition and ritual. Wine, cigarettes, rock ’n‘ roll (on LPs!), pirated cable TV, and the odd comic misadventure provide them with distractions, if not quite pleasure. Shot in naturalistic black-and-white and infused with a loopy charm, this debut feature is closer in spirit to the droll antics of the Czech New Wave than to Kevin Smith’s foul-mouthed hilarity or Richard Linklater’s absurdist existentialism. An affectionate salute to rolling stones who ain’t goin‘ nowhere, 25 Watts plays like a newly unearthed relic from an infinitely more benign time.