Movie review by Dania Zarate for CraftyChica.com
What is a “Latin lover?”
How does one become one?
Who better to answer these questions than the man himself, Eugenio Derbez, star of the comedy that opens today in theaters.
“A Latin lover is a lifestyle, how you feel inside, it’s not about being good looking or handsome,” said the 54-year-old Mexican actor at a recent press tour in Phoenix. “They have a personality. And a woman will always choose a man who will make them laugh than a man who is handsome and boring.”
In Spanish, there is a saying verbo mata carita which means personality or suave words will always surpass a handsome face. I know this is true because my last boyfriend was a total bore. Handsome… but BORING. I’m not trying to put down the pretty boys, but we gals need more than arm candy!
That’s why I have to say, this man speaks the truth. And that wisdom and warmth is part of Eugenio’s charm. Not only in an interview or conversation but on the big screen as well. If you go to see How to Be a Latin Lover, you’ll see what I mean.
The story is about a playboy whose rich 80-year-old wife dumps him for a younger model. Broke and homeless, he is forced to move in with his sister until he can score the affections of an older wealthy widow. But we all know things won’t go as planned!
From beginning to end, the film will make you laugh out loud. While Eugenio takes the lead, he is backed up by a team of superstars, including Kristen Bell, Raquel Welch, Rob Lowe and Salma Hayek. She portrays his sister and milks the role to our benefit! Eugenio has a favorite hilarious scene involving Salma… and a tortilla.
I won’t spoil it but trust me, you’ll love it.
This is the first time the two Mexican actors have worked together and it’s obvious it won’t be the last. They had such great chemistry on and off camera and Eugenio even commented there are future projects in the works.
I asked him if he prefers to act in English, Spanish or a little of both.
“In this film, he said, “We speak English. Except for the scenes between me and Salma. That’s because it’s natural for two people who speak Spanish and are alone together to speak Spanish together. But when our characters are around others, we speak English. As it should be. But we do a dubbed version of the movie all in Spanish in case you have an abuelita or tia who doesn’t speak English.”
There is a twist though.
“The dubbed version is a completely different movie,” he said. “In the Spanish-language version, we changed the script and the jokes to make it more appealing to the Latin market. But both are very, very funny!”
Eugenio is such a humble man whom I grew up watching on Spanish-language TV. He began acting as a kid with a small role in a telenovela, then went on to appear in a variety of children’s shows and eventually became a regular in the comedy series Anabel. After hosting a primetime variety show, he became beloved by fans all over the world and started a new venture of producing.
His work behind and in front of the camera has led to international fame. You might remember him from the tearjerker, La Misma Luna (aka Under the Same Moon). He also has appeared in multiple mainstream American comedies. But his biggest success to date has to be Instructions Not Included, where he not only starred but also directed. That comedy went on to become the most successful Spanish-language film in the United States and around the world.
I am very proud, as a Mexican, to see other Mexicans succeed. Especially in Hollywood. How to be a Latin Lover touched my heart and made me happy. It’s a very funny film with a great life lesson about putting family first.
And being a Latin lover.
He seems to know so much about the topic. Hmmm, does that mean he is a Latin lover?
“I was a Latin lover years ago,” he admitted, choosing his words carefully. “Right now, I’m kind of shy. Not exactly a Latin lover. But in certain ways, I do have that feeling inside of me. I think every man has it, we just need to bring it out in the right way.”
Dania Zarate, a mom of two, owns and runs a Phoenix barbershop by day, and is the lead singer of a cumbia band by night.