I thought that The Valet is going to be a classic comedy of errors but it turned out to be a charming rom-com with a twist. It brings back memories of all those nineties and early aughts movies with a similar subject. The thing that surprised me the most was the script. The jokes were funny, character development solid and nothing felt forced or commercial. Of course, the main story is as silly and unbelievable as they come but somehow it just works. It provides a basis to talk about many different issues including class struggle, gentrification, and fame along with everything it brings. However, all of these issues are in the background of our main love story that’s actually not a love story at all.
The Valet stars one of my favorite young actresses, Samara Weaving, and charismatic Eugenio Derbez. He also starred in a very similar movie, just four years earlier. So you might wanna check out Overboard, where he plays a rich yacht owner who loses his memory. It’s also written by Bob Fisher and Rob Greenberg. The rest of the cast was pretty solid too, if not acting the part then looking the part. This especially goes for the Max Greenfield playing the douchebag billionaire. Unfortunately, I have to say that Samara was a bit wobbly here. Or maybe I’m just used to seeing her give great performances and this one was just mediocre.
And while you might think that The Valet will only appeal to the Latin American audiences I assure you that’s not the case. I loved all of the dialogue in Spanish and this white girl/Latino man relationship gave the movie an exotic vibe. We’re not watching a middle-class white couple struggling with love and not thinking about money or how they’re going to pay the bills. This made me empathize with our lead characters as most of us are in a similar situation. When it comes to the other side of the equation, I will again have to mention a certain Mexican telenovela. I think that the title will be enough: “The Rich Also Cry”.
Antonio is a humble and honest hard-working man. He takes his job as a valet seriously but on one faithful night, all of that is going to change. After crashing into a car while driving his bicycle he will find himself pulled into the world of the rich and famous. Actress Olivia Allan will use him as a cover for her affair with a married man. However, what sounds like a simple plan will soon start to get more and more complicated.
Making full use of the culture clash, The Valet tries to bring these two worlds closer together. To remind us that we’re all essentially the same. And I will stop here because I’m dangerously close to a depressing rant. Not to mention the whole family thing. This movie is simply too much fun for it. It’s perfect for those nights when you don’t know what to watch. Despite its simple and familiar formula, it will provide you with a lot of laughs and leave you feeling good. With the running time of just under two hours, it almost never got boring or dull.
Finally, you should know that The Valet is based on a French movie of the same name. It’s the latest in a long string of Francis Veber remakes. So, if you’re looking to continue in the same direction do check it out. I also recommend you check out my favorite comedy he directed, Le Diner de Cons. It’s simply too hilarious to skip.
Director: Richard Wong
Writers: Bob Fisher, Rob Greenberg, Francis Veber
Cast: Eugenio Derbez, Samara Weaving, Max Greenfield, Betsy Brandt, Carmen Salinas, Amaury Nolasco
Fun Facts: The movie that Antonio and his mother Cecilia (Carmen Salinas) watch late at night, is an actual film where Carmen Salinas acted in her youth in Mexico. She’s a famous actress who appeared in more than 100 movies and television shows. This was her final role and she fucking nailed it.