Release Date: August 3rd, 2007 by Picturehouse.
The Cast: Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, John Ortiz, Manny Perez, Vincent Laresca, Antone Pagan.
Directed by Leon Ichaso.
BASIC PREMISE: Hector Lavoe (Anthony) rises to fame as a Salsa singer and marries Puchi (Lopez) before ruining his life with drugs. Based on a true story.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: For most of El Cantante’s thin plot, Hector Lavoe can be found either singing on stage or taking drugs with his wife, Puchi. They have a son together, but he rarely shows up. Too many scenes feel redundant and dull. Black-and-white mock interviews with Puchi talking about her husband, while looking offscreen, serve more as distractions than compelling or necessary scenes. Marc Anthony gives a decent performance, but the weakest link here is Jennifer Lopez, who looks uncomfortable here just like she did in Gigli—you’re just waiting for her to say “turkey, turkey, gobble, gobble, gobble” during an implicit lesbian sex scene. Unfortunately, co-writer/director Leon Ichaso simply fails to bring Hector Lavoe alive, even when he sings. Ichaso tries to heighten the tension by using fast-paced cinematography, although, the angles feel odd and nauseating. Most biopics, like Selena, which Jennifer Lopez stars in, or Ray, at least have a coherent narrative structure and character development. El Cantante, on the other hand, has neither to keep you truly engaged and nor will it make you rush out to buy the soundtrack. At a running time of 121 minutes, it overstays its welcome.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Dull plot, equally dull characters and often tedious with no insight.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 13
IN A NUTSHELL: A decent performance by Marc Anthony doesn’t even come close to compensating for the dull plot, equally dull characters and often tedious scenes with no real insight into Hector Lavoe.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "E" Menu