‘How to Be a Latin Lover’ Shows How Not to Make a Comedy

How_to_Be_a_Latin_Lover_film_posterAnd I thought “The Circle” was a boring mess about nothing

“How to Be a Latin Lover” stars Eugenio Derbez as a man who has spent his whole life married to a rich old woman. When she finally kicks him out, he must move in with his sister (Salma Hayek) and find a new sugar mommy. Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Raphael Alejandro, Raquel Welch and Rob Riggle all have extended cameos as Ken Marino directs.

Derbez is a big deal in Mexico, and his 2013 film “Instructions Not Included” was a surprise hit and grossed just short of $100 million worldwide. Here he got an American director (though this is Marino’s first feature film effort and is better known for small roles in shows and movies) and a handful of faces familiar to American audiences. However what the film ends up being is a string of sloppily assembled skits and subplots that result in pity chuckles at best; this is honestly the most bored I’ve been in a theater in a long while.

I really don’t know where to start with this thing. I guess I’ll address how none of the actors outside Derbez seem to be trying. To all of them, this is a chance to earn a paycheck by hanging out with their friends, and they treat it as such. Yelling, shouting, over-acting, it’s all here and it’s as annoying and abrasive as it sounds.

The plot of the film seems funny enough on paper, a man who grew up knowing he wanted to marry rich so he’d never have to work a day in his life, but it quickly wears out its welcome. It would probably work a lot better as an SNL skit series than a full length film.

Every character’s subplot is so uninteresting, from Kristen Bell’s overly-excited cat lady to Rob Riggle’s gym bro trying to get Derbez to pay him back, and they’re so lazily stitched together that there is no flow to the film. This thing is nearly two hours and that is criminal, because there was barely enough content to fill the trailer. Scenes go on for far too long and end on awkward silences because the editing is so poor.

The film also has no idea what it wants to be or who it’s trying to appeal to. It’s rated PG-13 but there are as many s-words as there are seemingly family-pandering bits. It only adds to the mess.

The film has two funny bits about it, and to save you time and curiosity I’m going to explain them here and now, so spoiler alert if you don’t value my opinion and are going to see this anyway. A running gag is an old man in a wheelchair keeps getting hit by cars, and as a fan of physical humor it got a little chuckle out of me each time it happened. But even my friend turned to me the third time and said “you really are laughing at that?” so maybe even that joke isn’t good.

The film’s biggest laugh and only moment of genuine originality is when Derbez is trying to seduce an older woman so he puts shoe shine on his grey beard and chest hair. However when he jumps in the pool it all comes off in a black cloud so it looks like he pooped in the water.

It was funny, sue me.

About 20 minutes into the film my friend leaned over to me and jokingly asked if I wanted to leave and go see “The Boss Baby” again (which, I’m still convinced that film is ahead of its time and will be appreciated in the future for what it is). An hour in my friend leaned over again and said, “seriously, I will go see Boss Baby right now.” We really were that bored sitting through this.

Look, Derbez has his fans and there are some people (like the two women in front of us) who will enjoy this film and tell all their friends to run out and see it. But I’m not one of those people. I can honestly tell you with a straight face that “How to Be a Latin Lover” is one of the worst comedies I’ve ever seen, and the only reason I’m not giving it a 1 is (a) because I laughed those two times and (b) the film was definitely shot on a camera; like, someone (unfortunately) knew how to press on and put the shot into focus.

Critics Rating: 2/10

Pantelion Films

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