In “How To Be A Latin Lover“, Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) is a male gold digger who has dreamed of marrying a rich woman since he was a little boy. He simply wants to live his life putting forth as little effort as possible. After twenty-five years, Maximo finds himself all alone, as his now-elderly golden parachute leaves him for a much younger man. With no money, no job, no sex appeal, and no clue how to function in society he resorts to seeking out his widowed sister for help. He spends the rest of the film living with her and her son while he tries to pursue his next sugar momma, along the way learning the importance of family and staying true to your word.
If this story seems a bit disjointed, it’s because it is. The film simply can’t settle on focusing on humor or its familiar theme. The situations Maximo finds himself in seem like a reach beyond the realm of believability, even for a comedy. The jokes are very sophomoric, almost like it’s attempting to be a ’90s Happy Madison flick, but it falls short of even that. If it weren’t for the charming interactions between Maximo and his nephew, Hugo, this plot would be easily disposable. Everything feels overly forced, like it’s trying too hard to simultaneously make you chuckle and pull at your heart strings.
There’s quite a cast present here, but only a small handful really give a memorable performance. Eugenio Derbez reprises his same character from “Instructions Not Included”, a film that surpasses the quality of this one in spades. It makes me wonder if he has any more range outside of a bumbling buffoon, or if that’s really his shtick. Even Salma Hayek appears to be not having any fun with her role as Maximo’s sister, but this could be more attributed to the writing rather than her ability as a performer. There’s several other familiar faces including Rob Lowe, Kristin Bell, Rob Corddry, Rob Riggle, and even Raquel Welch. But Lowe is the only distinctive character in here, as he owns the ridiculousness of his character with man-boyish charm, while everyone else just seems to be going through the motions.
I got a lot of odd looks from people when I told them I was going to the theater to see “How to Be a Latin Lover”. The title definitely doesn’t do the flick any service, as this is all about comedy instead of seduction. Even still, this movie falls quite flat for me for multiple reasons, including a far stretch of a premise, jokes that are low hanging fruit, and over the top performances that are more of a distraction than entertaining. It had the makings of a solid recipe, but wound up leaving nothing but a bland taste in my mouth.
Starring Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek and Rob Lowe
Written by Chris Spain and Jon Zack
Directed by Ken Marino