How to Be a Latin Lover
PG-13 | 1h 55min | Comedy | 28 April 2017 (USA)
Synopsis: Finding himself dumped after 25 years of marriage, a man who made a career of seducing rich older women must move in with his estranged sister, where he begins to learn the value of family.
Review: Matt Mungle
One of the funniest films of the year which also may have the most heart is the outrageously hilarious, HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER. Eugenio Derbez creates a character that is sure to be ranked among the most enjoyable to watch. It is a film that uses a well known stereotype as a catalyst for laughs and to focus on the importance of family.
Maximo (Derbez) decided at a really young age that the key to an easy life was to hook up with a wealthy, elderly woman and spend his days in pampered luxury. When he is booted out by his wife he finds himself now in his 40’s, out of work, homeless, and alone. When he shows up on the doorstep of his younger sister Sara (Salma Hayek) she is not happy to see him. Sara is a single mom raising her young son Hugo (Raphael Alejandro) and the last thing she needs is Maximo and all his entitled mindset. Maximo quickly bonds with Hugo and decides to use his Latin Lover charms to help Hugo win the heart of his elementary school crush.
The script could have went the sappy direction and tried to force feed us the Maximo/Hugo friendship. Instead it keeps Maximo and his lover boy mentality front and center. He is so enjoyable to watch and Derbez manipulates the character perfectly. Maximo is clueless, self centered, with boundless ego. His journey to a new sugar momma is job one and he will walk over anyone he needs to. But you never hate him. He is too likable for that. And the story of family is written in so subtle that it sneaks up on you before you know it. You are so buy laughing that it takes a while to stop and admit your touched by the story.
Derbez and Hayek are fantastic together. They emulate the brother sister dynamic perfectly. The chemistry is natural and never feels rehearsed. It is obvious they are comfortable and trusting of each other as actors. The supporting cast is also willing to embrace their roles with no intimidation. Rob Lowe plays Maximo’s friend and fellow boy toy. Lowe is currently being manhandled by the naughty (literally) rich Millicent (Linda Lavin). It was so fun to see Lavin on the big screen in this type of role. Kristen Bell is also a gem as a cat loving single girl who helps Maximo find a job. She nails every moment she is given.
HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER is rated PG-13 for crude humor, sexual references and gestures, and for brief nudity. Everything is wrapped in humor so nothing really feels crude or sexual. Granted it is more an adult film in the way it is written and the themes of family, midlife crisis, and sugar mommas. Fans of Anchorman, Nacho Libre, Austin Powers and those type films will gravitate to Maximo instantly. But to be honest this film has more heart that any others you will find. I give it 3.5 out of 5 speedos. A surprise comedy that will have you laughing from start to finish.