Review by Camden Ferrell
Eugenio Derbez is one of the most well-known Mexican comedy actors today, and he most recently starred in the Best Picture winning movie CODA. His newest movie is The Valet, a comedy that is the remake of a 2006 French movie of the same name. This movie is a very standard and relatively enjoyable romantic comedy that hits all of the typical beats without aiming to do anything particularly fresh.
Antonio is a valet, living life with his big family and looking for love after his wife breaks up with him. One night, he finds himself accidentally photographed with Olivia, a famous actress, and the married man with whom she’s having an affair. In an effort to preserve her image, Oliva and Antonio begin a relationship to not implicate her with her married fling. The fake relationship premise and story have been done before, and this movie is fine but opts to follow the formula for this story closely.
The movie is directed by Richard Wong whose previous movie, Come As You Are, was also enjoyable despite its flaws. Wong is perfectly adequate as a director, simply telling this story with no frills or risks, and it works for better or worse. The movie desperately needs to feel surprising and original, but his execution is far too safe to achieve such a goal.
The cast is mostly decent throughout. Derbez is the heart of this film, and while he doesn’t give his usual over the top performance, he still brings a lot of humor to the role. Samara Weaving co-stars as Olivia, and she’s usually a very talented actress, but her performance in this movie is passable at best. The movie also stars Max Greenfield and Betsy Brandt who give decent performances despite being forgettable.
One of the smaller details that I enjoyed was how Derbez’s on screen family spoke just as much Spanish as English. It’s a minor detail that really means a lot in terms of representation. Despite not being surprising or original, this is still a nice touch. Overall, the movie feels far too long, clocking in at nearly two hours, and its story is incredibly predictable. It’s a comedy that one can watch and mildly enjoy without too much effort, but it’s not something to actively seek out among all of the other new releases available.
The Valet will definitely please fans of Derbez, but many may still find this remake to be predictable and far too safe for a comedy film. There are a few good gimmicks and funny moments, but it could have easily been thirty minutes shorter.
The Valet will be available on Hulu May 20.