Let’s just be honest and admit that some people have few, if any, real-world survival skills. That’s not the case, though, for Maximo (Eugenio Derbez), the main character in the new movie How To Be A Latin Lover. Directed by Ken Marino, the movie is about Maximo, who early on in life discovered he had the ability to woo rich older women from whom he could mooch a luxurious lifestyle and a life of ease and relaxation.
That situation is upset when the older woman he’s been with for 25 years kicks him out and Maximo doesn’t know how to make it in the world. He tries moving in with his sister Sara (Salma Hayek) and nephew Hugo (Raphael Alejandro), but still needs to get a job. While he tries to return to his lothario ways, he finds that’s not so easy with a quarter century in the rear-view mirror. That readjustment to the real world is where the movie will find, it seems, much of its humor.
The first poster wasn’t all that great, it was just a parody of one of the posters for Fifty Shades Darker, this time with a latin gentleman standing behind an older lady wearing the kind of mask that was featured in the marketing for that film. Another appeared later that parodied La La Land.
There’s not much to the theatrical poster. It just shows Derbez as the title character standing there holding a rose in his mouth and wearing nothing but a Speedo, pointing to the audience. The paunch of his belly shows we’re in satire territory here, aided by the copy “Watch and learn.” The rest of the cast appears in small photos below the title.
First up is a teaser trailer that opens with Maximo and Sara as children talking about what they want to be when they grow up, with Maximo pegging early on he wants to live a life of luxury. Some shots of that lifestyle are followed by Sara hitting him repeatedly for various reasons before we’re introduced to some of the supporting cast, including Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell. It all ends with Maximo beginning to instruct his nephew in the art of seduction.
This doesn’t work very well. The story isn’t presented all that clearly, the jokes aren’t given any chance to really breathe or land for the audience. You get the basic sense of what’s going on but it’s not the most effective teaser I’ve seen.
We meet a young Maximo in the first trailer as a young man looking for an older woman to mooch off of. Fast forward a number of years and he’s still living in her house and taking advantage of her wealth. When she throws him to the curb he has to get out and support himself. Instead of doing that, though, he moves in with his sister and nephew, where he gets into all kinds of trouble. Eventually he sets his sights on a new sugar momma, but he’s grown a bit rusty over the years even as he tries to teach his nephew how to woo a girl he likes.
It’s pretty funny and you can see Marino’s influence on the comedy here. It plays quite broadly but still looks pretty funny overall. It’s much better than the teaser in that the story is clearly on display and the jokes are given a bit of room to move around. Much more attractive movie on display here, even if the sense of humor still seems a bit off-kilter.
Online and Social
OK, I’m a little confused as to the movie’s online strategy. The official site features a modified version of the key art, with Derbez in his banana hammock and the smaller shots of the supporting cast. There’s a button in the top left to get tickets and beating heart graphic encourages you to watch the trailer. Below the cast photos are links to the movie’s Facebook and Instagram profiles as well as the studio’s Twitter. But there’s no other information about the movie.
If you click the “Get Tickets” button that site offers a bit more content, with a section of “Videos” that contains both trailers, some featurettes, a few clips from the publicity tour and more. There’s also a “Synopsis” that helps lay out the story of the movie. Also linked to from the main page is a Lionsgate publicity page that has the main trailer, both posters and fact sheets in both English and Spanish.
All that adds up to an odd and disparate strategy that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
If there’s been any TV advertising done I can’t find it. Some outdoor ads were placed, though, that used the key art to try and sell the movie as a sexy comedy. The message was hard to convey, though, since the tone of the movie doesn’t appear to be all that straightforward and easy to sell.
Media and Publicity
Derbez and Halek both made the media rounds in the weeks leading up to release, speaking to the press, appearing on late night talk shows and more. They talked about making the movie, working with each other and Marino and more.
What’s notable if you look at the Twitter profile for Pantelion Films is that there was a significant push into the Spanish-language media world. Both stars did lots of interviews for those outlets, either in print or on TV.
There are several things going on here that are of note. First off, the website strategy continues to make little sense to me. I’m not sure why the videos and other information aren’t on the official site but are relegated to the tickets site. And why push the posters to the Lionsgate page? That misstep is offset by the approach to the Spanish-language media, which makes a ton of sense considering stars and that much of the movie’s dialogue seems to be in Spanish. So that’s a smart play to an important demographic.
The movie as a whole looks funny in an offbeat, slightly low key kind of way. That’s not unexpected considering Marino’s comedic history, especially with The State and as a collaborator of David Wain whose movies can generally best be described as “offbeat, slightly low key.” There’s certainly a funny movie being sold here, but it’s honestly going to be hard to sell a movie that’s half in Spanish and which doesn’t feature a big, mainstream name (other than Hayek) in the cast to the audience that keeps going to see The Fate of the Furious.