The gigolo life has been put on the arts pedestal here and there, sure. Sometimes with a smirk, a knowing wink-wink, if you will, such as in David Lee Roth’s playful 1985 video for the anthem for the lothario life, Just a Gigolo.
How to Be a Latin Lover takes it too far.
We start with a young brother telling his sister how he’s going to be a kept man when he grows up. And in this comedy directed by Ken Marino from a screenplay by Chris Spain and Jon Zack, everybody gets to see just how Maximino succeeds in landing his first catch. Alas. Fast forward to the dissolution of that marriage a quarter-century later when a younger car salesman sees a good thing and works his charm to unseat the Latin lover.
Poor Maximino discovers that he’d signed a pre-nup in his haste for the easy life. He knocks on the door of his sister, ignorant to lots of things about life, including the facts that her husband has died, and he has a nephew, not a niece.
She takes him in nevertheless.
From here, the film tries to have some heart, but the premise is just too smarmy to clear as a hurdle as Uncle Max tries to teach young Hugo his ways with women to win over his classmate. Unfortunately, the little girl’s favor would pave the way to her rich grandmother.
Too much yuck is involved in the intricacies of Max’s plan to make up for his growing affection for Hugo, the interesting work of lead man Eugenia Derbez and his give-and-take chemistry with Salma Hayek as his sister and good side work by Kristen Bell as his sympathetic coworker at a yogurt store, Rob Lowe as a fellow gigolo and Raquel Welch as the filthy rich grandma.
I wanted to like it way more than I could on the living room flat screen.
But even the unexpected twist of an ending can’t completely erase the thought of Max’s building blocks.