City Paper is not for tourists
The plot is close to boilerplate gangster flick: A hard-up teenager looking to make a buck agrees to transport some unknown merchandise, which seems harmless enough until he discovers its dangerous contents and finds himself besieged by violent rivals. Except that every facet of 7 Boxes, set in the squalid covered markets of Asunción, Paraguay, is tinged with goofiness. The villains of the film are a kind of wheelbarrow mafia, never abandoning their pushcarts even when giving chase; the protagonist, Victor, only takes his eyes off his own cart to be distracted by glimpses of telenovelas that bring a warm glow to his usually disgruntled visage. Every character, including the bumbling policemen trying to track down the mystery merchandise, is beset by the same fatal flaw: an unshakable fascination with camera phones—the colorful plastic kind that may have been cool in 2002. There’s something charming about the innocence of the characters caught up in the criminal tangle that keeps an otherwise unremarkable film fresh and fun. Just don’t expect to understand a word of the Paraguayan street dialect; the awkward, vaguely British subtitles are your friend.