A relationship comedy from 20th Century Fox about one man in love
with three women is not entirely new territory. What is unusual
is that the man and ALL three women in the film are Latino as are
98% of the cast and crew. “Chasing Papi” is (recognized as the first
movie of its kind) an English speaking, studio produced mainstream
Latino film. This movie targets what is now the largest ethnic minority
in the U.S. (Latino) as well seeking to gain cross-over success
in the model of such African-American films like Barbershop.
Interestingly enough Forest Whitaker (Ghost Dog, Phone Booth) is
the guiding force behind the film in his role as producer. Forest
Whitaker is widely credited with helping induce studios to churn
out movies targeting an African-American audience with his directorial
of the smash hit “Waiting to Exhale” in 1995. Ever since this huge
hit, studios annually churn out 10-12 black films per year.
Chasing Papi attempts to recreate Waiting to Exhale’s success by
revolving around an incredibly hunky young advertising executive,
Papi (Eduardo Verastegui) and his stresses dealing with three equally
hot women in three cities. There’s Miamian Cici (Sofia Vergara)
a flamboyant pink wearing salsa dancing cocktail waitress. New Yorker
Patricia (Jaci Velasquez), the spoiled, puffy dress wearing rich
girl daughter of an ambassador; and my personal favorite, Chicagoan
Lorena (Roselyn Sanchez), an uptight, suit and tie-wearing, poetry
loving lawyer. After the film’s enjoyable exploratory stage, it
shifts into high speed slapstick as each girl receives their astrological
reading from famed (in Latino communities) astrologer Walter Mercado.
As their readings dictate to them, they separately arrive in Los
Angeles at Eduardo’s home to surprise their wonderful boyfriend.
There, in a predictable but quite sexy scene, each girl finds out
about each other. This leads to the girls confronting Papi who promptly
passes out from multiple cocktails of tequila and stress relieving
tranquilizers. From here the movie bounces from a hilarious Miss
Puerto Rico contest, a vague stolen drug lord’s car and an exhausting
While not perfect, I thoroughly enjoyed the film mainly because
of the uniqueness of such a film. The film had a hammering Latino
flavor from the bouncy soundtrack to cultural standpoints like Walter
Mercado. All of this hammering was done without losing its crossover
appeal. In addition, I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed the great
eye candy of Cici, Patricia y Lorena. Their performances exactingly
matched the growth of their characters. Since this is the first
leading opportunity for all of them, they did an admirable job.
Eduardo Verastugei betrays his Mexican soap opera roots in a respectful
job portraying Papi, a man who is not a cad but rather one who falls
helplessly in love with the varying personalities of each of his
women. My grade: B-.