In Mexico, Derbez became one of the biggest starts in film and television thanks to his almost magical mix of earnest comedy and ability to touch people’s hearts. The actor was clever enough to sell himself with the persona, and that persona took straight to Hollywood, where he has been able to carve a space of his own in the industry. Every once in a while we see Derbez coming up with a new film, and we know exactly what we are going to get.
The Derbez formula has been almost patented at this point, and its effectiveness as been confirmed countless times. You mix an underdog of a character, that will be played by Derbez, then you get an American actress to play the co-lead. And then you add a bit of social commentary, so family talk and eureka you have a movie that can be enjoyed by almost every demographic under heaven. This formula isn’t new or exciting at all, but it works. The Valet, now on Hulu, uses that formula once again, and it just works all over again.
The Valet is a film directed by Richard Wong, and stars Eugenio Derbez, Samara Weaving, Max Greenfield, Amaury Nolasco, and Carmen Salinas. The film is a remake of the 2006 French film, written and directed by Francis Veber, and tells the story of Antonio, a valet living in the city of Los Angeles. Life is being tough on Antonio as he is stuck in life, and also he is in the process of separating himself from his wife. Things get even more complicated for Antonio when he gets involved with Olivia, and pretends to be his boyfriend in order to avoid a greater scandal.
The Valet is one of those perfect movies to watch if you need something to put a smile on your face. Derbez’ charisma is so big and infectious that you will probably spend the whole movie with a smile on your face without even noticing it. The movie also has a lot of heart, and it is able to pull on some string towards the end of the movie. Actually, all the supporting actors that compose Antonio’s family radiate confidence, and charm, and they make for a wonderful family to watch on screen.
Samara Weaving has been carving her own space in Hollywood by constantly working on quality projects that are very diverse. The actress has definitely shown that she has what it takes to basically everything, from drama, comedy, even horror. Here in The Valet she plays Olivia, an actress that is having a hard time finding what she really wants, and she really deserves.
The relationship between the two characters never gets hotter than a warm couch. But it doesn’t have the point of the relationship is that both characters learn from each other by being friends, not by falling in love with each other, so the lack of chemistry fits the story. There might not be sparks between Antonio and Olivia, but they do make a great pair of friends.
Greenfield, on the other hand, seems to be typecast forever by being the eternal jerk. I don’t remember a movie where the actors was able to play any other role than this one. It is steady work for sure, but it does get repetitive for the audience. I cannot even imagine how repetitive it must feel for him. Every time you see him in a movie, you know exactly what is going to happen.
If there is someone that steals the movie is Carmen Salinas. The veteran Mexican actress only talks in Spanish during the whole movie, but her attitude is just amazing, and you love every interaction she has with the other characters. It is great to see such a screen legend still working and still having such an amazing presence on screen.
On a technical level, the movie is just fine. It looks like so many other films where the director knows that trying to do cool visuals will get in the way of the stories and the characters. The movie is well shot, but Wong just lets the actors do what they do best, and it is their interaction that makes the film go. There is nothing fascinating happening when it comes to framing or color palette.
The movies do offer a wonderful amount of social commentary. One that really makes you feel just how important it is having healthy communities where to grow up and have a nice life. The importance of a family is also quite pivotal for the story, and for all viewers who don’t know, the representation that the family unit gets on the screen is exactly the way a Latin America family behaves. It is something in their ADN.
The Valet is a fun little movie that will be able to make you smile and cry in equal parts. The film is not very memorable, but after watching you will not feel as if you wasted your time. The opposite, actually, maybe this is the movie that will brighten your day, even if it is for just two hours.