- Jennifer Green
Review: "The Valet"
This remake may be predictable and formulaic, but the combination of actors and the blend of humor with sweetness lifts it a notch above.
The Valet could have been satisfied to just play on class and cultural stereotypes around the two main characters. It does this, and to especially funny effect thanks to Derbez's comic talent.
A scene where he's confused ordering at a fancy restaurant, then mistaken for a waiter, is priceless, as is his sudden hero status among the working class. Another scene where he and his buddies stop to pick up fast food while whisking a passed-out movie star away from her film premiere is also hilarious. Their no-nonsense behavior of paying in all one-dollar bills, stashing ketchup packets for later, and discussing the special speed limit for Latinos contrasts comically yet poignantly with the celebrity's self-imposed woes.
Played by veteran Carmen Salinas (before her death in 2021), Antonio's elderly mother's insistence on discussing her sexual desire with her mortified son is another running gag.
The storyline has Antonio and Olivia both gain confidence from their relationship to improve their own lives. Derbez is undoubtedly the star of this film, but Weaving provides a good match for him. Greenfield essentially plays the same character as the one that made him famous on New Girl, but he's always amusing and likable despite bad behavior.
The film also has some unexpectedly sweet touches, like the friendship that arises between two lonely, soft-boiled detectives or the relationship between Antonio's mom and her Korean neighbor that unexpectedly blends two immigrant families.
A funeral scene is surprisingly moving, showing Derbez's dramatic chops as well.
The writers were smart to make sure Antonio mentioned the age difference between him and Olivia to give them an out from actually trying to make the coupling work -- this would have felt forced and could have undermined the movie as a whole.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.
Images courtesy of Hulu.