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Review: Star-studded ‘How to Be a Latin Lover’ delivers broad laughs in two languages

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Raquel Welch and Eugenio Derbez in the movie “How to Be a Latin Lover.”
(Claudette Barius / Pantelion)

An A-lister in his native Mexico, Eugenio Derbez has yet to break into the American mainstream. However, “How to Be a Latin Lover” may be the film that finally introduces him to a wider audience with dialogue in both Spanish and English and plenty of familiar faces. Its humor is broad, but most of the jokes work for the intended audience — with a few even breaking through to more resistant viewers.

When aging gold digger Maximo (Derbez) is dumped by his octogenarian sugar mama (Renée Taylor), he’s forced to move in with his sister (Salma Hayek) and her son (Raphael Alejandro). Broke and jobless, he tries to find a way to seduce his next meal ticket while showing his nephew how to romance his young crush (Mckenna Grace).

For a film that relies on cute kid humor, “How to Be a Latin Lover” gets surprisingly raunchy at times, particularly in scenes featuring Rob Lowe as a boy toy in a bit of genius casting. In addition to Derbez and Lowe, director Ken Marino has assembled a cast of people who aren’t afraid to be entirely silly in pursuit of a laugh: Kristen Bell, Michael Cera, Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Rob Riggle and Michaela Watkins. The comedy could have — and should have — been 25 minutes shorter, but how else would they have packed in all the stars?

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‘How to Be a Latin Lover’

In English and Spanish, with English subtitles

Rating: PG-13, for crude humor, sexual references and gestures, and for brief nudity.

Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

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Playing: In general release

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