“The Queen of Spain,” a light ensemble romp from the veteran director Fernando Trueba, has fun with movie lore even as it pillories Hollywood’s deal-making with the Francisco Franco regime in the 1950s. (The film is a sequel to Mr. Trueba’s “The Girl of Your Dreams,” from 1998, about a Third Reich engagement with Spanish showbiz.) In “Queen,” an opening montage evoking newsreels describes Franco’s invitation to American studios to shoot in Spain.
Penélope Cruz, who also starred in “The Girl of Your Dreams,” is back as Macarena Granada, now a Hollywood superstar who, having acquired American citizenship, returns to her native Spain for a lavish American-Spanish coproduction about Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Blas Fontiveros (Antonio Resines), a former director exiled in France (and an ex-paramour of Macarena’s), has sneaked back into the Spanish industry, working second-unit. After he is discovered by the authorities, Blas is banished to a labor camp, and a group that includes Macarena, her assistant (Loles Léon), married crew hands (Santiago Segura and Neus Asensi) and a bumbling actor (Jorge Sanz) must smuggle him back to France.
Mr. Trueba skillfully blends genuine and mock period footage to conjure the era, while Mandy Patinkin, as a blacklisted screenwriter; Cary Elwes, as a loutish American leading man; and Clive Revill, sending up John Ford, ably help represent the Hollywood contingent. As for Ms. Cruz, she luminously revisits the role of a screen diva who, when the country’s dictator visits the set, is not above telling him off in the most delightfully coarse of terms.
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