Thursday, July 19, 2007

El Cantante Review

Tonight, I saw a screening of the new biopic El Cantante starring Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony about salsa pioneer Hector Lavoe. This film has been one of my most anticipated summer releases as I have a fascination with Marc Anthony, the music and the dark tragic story of Lavoe.
Yet, I can't begin to express how awful and cheesy this movie turned out to be. JLO is a terrible actress and the script was downright amateur. The story of Lavoe's life was framed with these awful painful monologues JLo performs as Lavoe's wife Puchia. JLo's performance reminded me of having to sit through the awful acting encountered in a high school drama class. I don't know if she is a worse actress or singer. I think I might enjoy her singing more. Love Don't Cost a Thing is a pretty good song. Oh, and she is very pretty.
The film is full of flashbacks of scenes that already occurred earlier in the film to show the characters' emotional state. This doesn't work. I never figured out what drove Lavoe or his wife into drugs and despair. I hate the flashback tactic. It's a cop out and I prefer to see some actual acting rather than cheap visual narrative tricks. Show me in the actor's face how he's feeling and not through flashback scenes of shit I already saw fifteen minutes ago. Also, slow motion was used repeatedly to highlight a "very dramatic" situations. I almost walked out but was so in awe of how bad this film turned out to be, I stayed until the very end.
The only thing about the film I liked was Marc Anthony who is an amazing performer and actually really looks like a heroin junkie alcoholic with AIDS. The musical numbers are fantastic. With a different script, no JLo and a talented director this could have been a fantastic movie.
Selena + Gigli = El Cantante

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