Eugenio Derbez may not be the first actor who comes to mind when you think of a “Latin lover.” For us, it’s a toss up between Antonio Banderas, William Levy, and Carlos Ponce. But to be fair, Derbez is playing more of a Latin lover has-been in his latest starring vehicle; his character Maximo is an aging Lothario whose looks are fading, if not his swagger. And so, when Maximo’s rich gringa sugar momma trades him in for a younger man (hi Michael Cera!), he has to find a way to make it on his own. Off he goes to crash with his sister, Sara played by Salma Hayek, and her young son Hugo.
How to be a Latin Lover looks to follow in the footsteps of Derbez’s blockbuster hit Instructions not Included. Just as in that 2013 film, the Mexican comedian will mostly be sharing scenes with a young co-star who’s all too adorable and smart for his age. The title of the film seems an allusion to the role Maximo assigns for himself as Hugo’s tutor when it comes to seducing women. He has his eyes on one of his nephew’s friends’ grandmother (Raquel Welch) and is eager to play all of his tricks on her. And yes, that includes splashing into a pool in his once foolproof yellow speedos. What could possibly go wrong, especially after he decided to use shoe polish to hide his graying body hair?
Considering the all-gringo writing and directing team behind this one – writers are Jon Zack and Chris Spain, and the movie is the directorial debut of actor Ken Marino – the cliché subject matter isn’t altogether surprising. The Latin Lover trope is well-worn, and judging from the trailer, this broad comedy doesn’t aim to subvert it. Still, the movie is produced by Derbez’s 3pas Studios, so maybe there’s hope for a great satire yet. With a cast that also includes Kristen Bell and three different guys named Rob (Lowe, Corddry, and Riggle), the bilingual production is the latest in a slate of movies betting on bilingual audiences (including the recent romcom Everybody Loves Somebody). With all the star-power behind it, it may just cement Derbez as an in-demand crossover Latino star.
How to be a Latin Lover opens April 27, 2017 in the U.S.