Though Eugenio Derbez gives a lot of charm in How to Be a Latin Lover, the movie doesn't fully swoon me
Kind of like Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution, Hollywood is a survival of the fittest game. The A-list celebrities like George Clooney, Samuel L. Jackson and Seth Rogan are always talked about because they've fought their way to be sold to you. The industry knows that thousands of hopefuls come to California with hopes of making it as big as George Clooney. If there's anything that the industry hates, it's unpredictability. Rather then having a revolving door of actors, studios like Universal and Paramount will keep the gravy train with the stars they know already gets people to buy tickets and continue pushing them.
The good news is that occasionally, a side actor or two can have enough charisma to get the spotlight on them and give them a chance to have their own staring role. Sometimes it can lead to new interests, and some prove that their better people in the background. One of these actors is Mexican star Eugenio Derbez. While the majority of his work in film and television is from south of the boarder, he has been lucky to get a couple of American roles. How to Be a Latin Lover is the actors first staring role along with some other big names.
Ever since he was a boy, Maximo (played by Eugenio Derbez) had wanted a life of luxury. When he was twenty-two, he married a woman who was twice his age, but was incredibly wealthy by using his smooth Latin way of seduction. Cut to years later where Maximo is living off of his wife's riches and resides in Los Angeles. His gravy train ends when his wife cheats on him with a Ferrari salesman. Not only does she want a divorce, but with the prenuptial contract he signed, Maximo gets nothing.
With nowhere else to go, he finds his sister Sara (played by Selma Hayek) who is widowed with her child Hugo. Though she hates him to abandoning the family, she lets him stay under the condition that he finds a job. While taking Hugo to school, he notices Celeste (played by Requel Welsh) who is worth even more then his ex wife and is a widow. He schemes to reclaim his wealthy lifestyle by resurrecting his Latin charm. He sees that life isn't fair, but starts to learn the importance of family. Along for the ride is friend and fellow gigolo Rick (Played by Rob Lowe) and a frozen yogurt employee Cindy (played by Kristen Bell).
For a comedy about a selfish man learning the importance of friends and family, it doesn't seem the original. I'd be lying if the saves the entire movie, but the majority of it is carried through thanks to Eugenio Derbez. At first I wasn't into his character, but he managed to convince me that he was likable and making something of an effort to change. While the movie has its shares of slapstick, the best jokes come from Eugenio when he makes a lot of witty remarks.
As for the story, I wish that the writers could have done something more outside-the-box and less predictable. The idea of subverting the Latin lover trope is an idea that could be funny (to be fair, it is funny for a while), but I think more could have been done with the story to make it more unique. I'm certainly glad I saw it, but I had two other problems. It's pacing seems padded during the second half, which makes the two hour running time too long. The other is the third act, which goes for the "liar-revealed" plot point that seems dated.
I'll give this six speedos out of ten. While it's not the best, it could have been a lot worse. I think this movie will defiantly do well on the home market where Eugenio Derbez can make a lot of people laugh. I like him and hope that this movie will get him more work. If your in the mood for a comedy, you'll probably find plenty of Mexican charm, though it's not one of the greats.
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