The Spanglish of love
Whenever I do a review, I try my best to keep an open mind about a film. However, in a few occasions I admit that I can get a little biased, whether it's because of a certain political topic or a particular actor. In the case of How to be a Latin Lover, it's the latter as I'm very aware of Eugenio Derbez's work in both TV and movies from Latin America. Perhaps it's because he's always found a way to be both a funny comedian and, surprisingly enough, a serious actor (depending on the role), I tend to be a little lenient towards his work. Make no mistake, his latest film isn't anything to be taken seriously (did you not read the title?) and if anything it looks like it could belong in a bluray bargain bin at a Wal-Mart. But given the benefit of the doubt, I gave How to be a Latin Lover a shot during one lazy evening and after watching it, I can say it was exactly what I would expect from the comedian, and yet it wasn't all bad. The plot starts off surprisingly dark: both Maximo and Sara are left without a father after losing him in a truck accident due to work exhaustion. Witnessing what hard labor does to a man, Maximo plans to get by in life without ever working. Years later and now an adult, Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) is married to an old rich tycoon who is twice his age and is pampered by her wealth. Maximo gets the shock of his life when she dumps him for a younger man (go figure, right?) leaving him penniless and homeless. With nowhere to go and having never worked a day in his life, Maximo goes to his sister Sara (Salma Hayek) whom he hasn't seen in years. Desperate to return to the life of luxury, Maximo tries to find another sugar mama all the while bonding with both his sister and his nephew Hugo (Raphael Alejandro). The thing about How to be a Latin Lover is that it doesn't try to be more than what it is which is basically a comedy. Never mind the fact that the film involves gigolos trying to weasel into a rich life without ever working for it; the film pushes more for slapstick humor and the bonds of family. I can't help but smirk at seeing Derbez's character trying to seduce Raquel Welch only to fail miserably with each attempt or the funny quips and exchanges between him and Salma Hayek's character. I actually expected it to be a dud to be honest but I ended up liking Latin Lover more than I thought. Despite a majority of its' cast being English speaking actors, it does seem like it is tailored towards more of a Hispanic audience so some jokes and dialogue might go over our humbled Gringo viewers' heads but trust me; it isn't that much of a problem and there is plenty to enjoy and laugh at whether you speak Spanish or English.