• by Wes Singleton

How to Be a Latin Lover, C-

Rated PG-13, 115 minutes

You would think a comedy called "How to Be a Latin Lover" would be red-hot with laughs, but it generates only lukewarm laughs at best, held together by the thin charms of "Instructions Not Included" star Eugenio Derbez, in his first big Hollywood film.

Maximo (Derbez) gets the surprise of his life when his wealthy, 80-year-old wife dumps him for a younger car salesman. Forced out of his mansion, he must now move in with his estranged sister Sara (Salma Hayek) and her nerdy but adorable son Hugo (Raphael Alejandro). Anxious to return to the lap of luxury, Maximo hatches a scheme to seduce a widowed billionaire (Raquel Welch) and live the high life once again.

"How to Be A Latin Lover" is directed by "Children's Hospital" star and comedian Ken Marino in his feature film directorial debut, co-written by Chris Spain and Jon Zack and produced by Derbez. Cheap and broad, "Latin Lover" is a narrative mess, all over the place, and packing it with cameos from many funny people, likely friends of director Marino: including Kristen Bell, Rob Riggle, Rob Corddry, Michael Watkins, Renee Taylor, Michael Cera, Linda Lavin (yes, that Linda Lavin, Alice from the TV show of the same name) and most unfortunately, Rob Lowe, none of whom will want this on their resume.

It wastes the terrific Hayek, who deserves better than this forgettable effort from one of Latin America's most likable comedians in Derbez, who needs a more skilled crew behind the scenes to make things work better. Marino's lackluster direction doesn't help it any, with a middling second act giving way to a predictable, cookie-cutter ending.

There are some funny nuggets, likely improvised, that Derbez has a way of throwing in, such as trying to impress the still-lovely Welch or teaching his nephew how to walk cool to pick up women, yet those are few and far between the long stretches of such awful, unfunny storytelling.

"How to Be a Latin Lover" doesn't sizzle, but is a big disappointment for such a pleasantly funny guy like Derbez, who needs a smarter script and a more skilled director to keep the story flowing. It may please Derbez's growing fan base, but otherwise not worth your time.

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