To Be A Latin Lover
It's really difficult to sustain comedy over an entire movie.
“How to Be A Latin Lover” manages to just avoid degenerating
into silliness by infusing a bit of family drama, but also figuring out
how to be tender-hearted and funny at the same time.
Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) and his sister Sara (Salma Hayek) grew up
poor, because their father fell asleep at the wheel.
Literally. And crashed
his truck into their house, and afterwards they lived with their Mom in
their beat-up car, where she sang along with sad songs on the radio until
Maximo tells Sara that when he grows up, he's not going to work.
He's going to figure out a way to be so rich he doesn't have to
work. Well, Maximo does grow
up to be a handsome young man, which he shamelessly uses to seduce a rich
widow. 25 years later, Maximo
still does nothing, and enjoys every moment of his idleness.
His only friend seems to be another golddigger, played by Rob Lowe.
Maximo is estranged from his sister, because he didn't bother to go
to their mother's funeral, and didn't even bother to visit when she had
her son, Hugo (Raphael Alejandro), much less when Hugo's father died.
Hugo, now 10 years old, still writes to his Dad, as a way of
keeping his memory alive.
Maximo is completely selfish, but it doesn't bother him.
Nothing does, until suddenly his rich wife decides that she's
trading him in for a younger model. Maximo
can't believe it. Now he's out
on the street with nothing, because of a pre-nup agreement, and because,
well, he never thought he'd be in this position so he wasn't prepared when
Having nowhere to go, he shows up at Sara's, and she reluctantly
takes him in temporarily, but insists that he find a job.
But Maximo doesn't figure he's cut out for selling yogurt or
holding advertising signs on street corners.
So he naturally tries to make a play, the same way he did before,
only this time, of course, he's lost his youth and his looks, and it
doesn't work like before. All
he succeeds in doing is borrowing money he doesn't have, which eventually
winds up affecting his almost-recovering relationship with Sara.
Some of the comic bits are a bit overdone, some don't seem to quite
hit the mark, and some are just hilarious.
There's a lot of poignancy here about people who are stumbling
around trying to figure things out and making a mess of it.
There's some genuine family affection, despite the frustration of
unmet expectation, because, well, they're family.
There's also the dynamic of playing to an Hispanic audience, while
including the gringos by speaking the dialogue in English, and adding
subtitles when the screen characters adroitly switch to Spanish.
It's a feel-good comedy with a light touch of parody, a little bit
of slapstick, and some “situational humor” that we all recognize as
the foibles of being human.