How to Be a Latin Lover Blu-ray Review: Doesn’t Know What It Wants to Be

Ken Marino’s How to Be a Latin Lover is an odd movie. Its title suggests a Swinging Sixties European sex romp, but it turns out to be a family comedy for the modern era. Unfortunately, it stumbles at both aspects. Some of the material is definitely not for younger members, which is why it is rated PG-13, and the laughs are limited as the tone of the humor is inconsistent.

After seeing his father work so hard it killed him, Maximo decides he wants to live a life of luxury by being a kept man. Ten years, he meets Peggy, a wealthy 50-something woman, and another 25 years later, Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) lacks empathy and ambition, resulting in being replaced by a younger man.

Left with only a small suitcase of clothes, he has nowhere to go but the apartment of his sister (Salma Hayek) and her young son Hugo (Raphael Alejandro), who take him in despite his indifference towards them over the years. At Hugo’s school, Maximo finds his new mark, Celeste Birch (Raquel Welch), but struggles to find time with her. He tries miserably at a charity event, and it’s his efforts to look his best that leads to the movie funniest albeit grossest gag. Maximo learns that Hugo has a crush on Celeste’s granddaughter Arden (Mckenna Grace).

As the plot progresses, the title becomes increasingly inaccurate. The story is more about loving one’s family and receiving their love back rather than being a Latin lover, making some of the humor ill-suited as it tries for a broad appeal. A sharper focus on being either an adult comedy or a family comedy could have led to better results.

Lionsgate presents the Blu-ray with a 1080p/AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio in 2.39:1 The primary colors appear in bright hues and blacks are rich. The image offers fine details, a sharp focus, and looks free of digital artifacts. The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and is a front-heavy experience. The dialogue, which characters speak in English and Spanish, is clear. There is slight ambiance in the surrounds and the score/songs come through with great clarity.

The Special Features include an interesting audio commentary with Marino, producer Ben Odell, and editor John Daigle as they talk together about the movie’s making. “Show Me your Sexy! Learning How to be a Latin Lover” (HD, 18 min) talks about origin of project, which started as a TV series pitch, became an R-rated comedy, and was toned down when the family relationships were explored. In “A Little Help from My Friends (HD, 11 min), Marino talks about hiring his comedy friends for roles, who likely would have been better utilized if it had remained R-rated. There are 23 Deleted and Extended Scenes (34 min) for those who want more from this cast.

How to Be a Latin Lover might be a comedy for your family, but it comes across as a missed opportunity. The Blu-ray delivers pleasing high-definition visuals and satisfactory audio and extras.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site.

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