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DVD Review: 'Latin Palooza'

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The true test of a successful comedy DVD, like the albums of the past, is its ability to create laughter and memorable, quotable lines outside of the theater setting without the benefit of that audience high, which makes everything funnier. Joey Medina's "Latin Palooza" makes a creditable effort by combining a handful of today's most well known Latin comics -- and one non-Latino -- to address contemporary everyday urban concerns that affect people of all ethnic backgrounds.

Naturally the majority of the humor revolves around Latin jokes, most particularly poking fun at the cheap, blue collar aspects of their society. Veteran comic Medina probably does it best, referencing how Mexicans are known for their cheapness (using Cool Whip containers as Tupperware for rice and beans), love of drinking (much like the Irish) and violent Mexican women (why he took up boxing).

There are numerous references to current events as well, such as a criticism of stereotyping terrorists ("I'm not being racist or prejudiced against Arab people. I dated a Middle Eastern girl -- and I think she was a terrorist because that p***y was the bomb!") While not as irreverent or blasphemous as Sarah Silverman, the testosterone-laden comics use plenty of juicy blue language when giving their take on human sexuality. Medina in particular likes to mention his "huevos" frequently and compares/contrasts men and women's masturbation techniques.

Each of the other comedians Medina has invited to be part of "Latin Palooza" were chosen for their unique styles and sensibilities. Mike Robles goes into long, drawn-out routines that don't necessarily rely on the setup-punch line formula. There are lots of men vs. women stuff in his routines that's probably funnier for men.

Alex Reymundo roars onto the stage of the Alex Theatre on a motorcycle, which pretty much sets up his bada** attitude. His humor includes lots of Spanish language and intolerance for those who don't speak it: "Time to learn, f***ers. Learn the language, bitch." Frankly, his angry Latino man routine can get a little old, but probably strikes a chord with the "minority majority," especially the ones who've been vocal on the illegal immigration front. It's a little odd, though, to hear his drawling Texas accent when he's not taking on the Latino persona.

The most effective comedians are Darren Carter (an honorary Latino) and Willie Barcena. Carter has an upbeat, absurdist energy that relies on silly impersonations and self-deprecating jokes. His singsong delivery is catchy, and his take on Snoop Dogg's supplementary comments on the news is the epitome of ridiculous, not to mention rather affectionate.

Barcena's humor is pretty much the opposite. His staccato rasp expresses blunt, curmudgeonly irritation that's reminiscent of an incontinent Ray Romano. No one's safe from his angry diatribes, whether it's the obese, stutterers, or his kids ("Hey behave, f***er!"). He combines foul humor with silly phrasing, such as his preference that if his son turns out to be gay, he doesn't want him to be the "ouch" one. Despite his somewhat pessimistic outlook, there's a digestible, relatable quality to his delivery that makes it forgivable.

The review copy of "Latin Palooza" did not contain the bonus features, which include a "Talk'n Smack" feature, "Stoopid" interviews and the intriguingly titled "Non Nude Pics."

STUDIO: Image Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: July 18
RATING: Not Rated
PRICE: $14.99 each
TIME: 96 min.
DVD EXTRAS: Talk'n Smack, Stoopid Interviews; Non Nude Pics
INTERNET SITE: For more info go to www.latinpalooza.tv

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