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"EL CANTANTE"
(2007) (Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Minor Extreme Mild Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor *None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Extreme Heavy Extreme Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A salsa singer rises to fame in New York City in the 1960s and '70s, only to encounter the usual and various pitfalls that often face such artists.
PLOT:
It's 2002 and Puchi Lavoe (JENNIFER LOPEZ) is looking back at the life and times of her husband, Héctor Lavoe (MARC ANTHONY), who was once king of the world of salsa. Flashing back to 1963, Héctor Perez is a young singer who performs with his father (ISMAEL MIRANDA) on the streets of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Yet, he knows he must travel to the U.S. if he wants to make it big, so against his father's wishes, he arrives in New York City in 1963.

There, a young worker, Eddie (MANNY PEREZ), gets him into a club and Héctor is immediately entranced by the scene. It isn't long before he's up there on the stage, doing his thing, and drawing the attention of Johnny Pacheco (NELSON VASQUEZ), a famous bandleader, and his record label partner, Jerry Masucci (FEDERICO CASTELLUCCIO). Johnny sets up Héctor with another musician, Willie Colon (JOHN ORTIZ), and the two are soon a big hit, drawing in the crowds and, in Héctor's case, with his new last name, the attention of a pretty clubgoer by the name of Puchi.

The two are soon an item, but her introduction of him to drugs soon backfires as he dives into them with abandon, including the use of heroin. Nevertheless, they get married, eventually have a child, Tito (played at successive ages by JARED EVERLETH, BERNARD HERNANDEZ and CHRISTOPHER BECERRA), and he continues to experience great success in the new music genre known as salsa.

Yet, his drug habit becomes too cumbersome, eventually putting a strain on both his career and his relationship with Puchi. From that point on, and as she tries to help while also enabling him, he experiences the highs and lows of being a famous singer.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of salsa music, Héctor Lavoe, or anyone in the cast, they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For drug use, pervasive language and some sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Considering what occurs in the film (drug use, drinking, smoking, strong profanity, etc.) it's unlikely many, if any, parents would consider the major characters as good role models.
CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


(Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 72 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue (some of it explicit) is present, as are several views of separate sexual encounters (movement and sounds, but not explicit nudity), while two clothed women act sexually toward each other while high. Some scantly clad women are seen, as is some sexy salsa dancing.

Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including a husband who cheats on his wife (leading to and exacerbating tense family material, which also includes the loss of a son via an accidental shooting - that is referenced but not seen, although the gun is).

Characters drink and/or smoke (a lot), and a lot of drug use (pot and heroin) is present. There's some brief physical contact between characters (including a husband to his wife), while a character tries to commit suicide via leaping off a balcony (not seen in full, and the character lives).

Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from camera flashes in several scenes, as well as from some lightning, while there's some brief, real strobe effects in a concert scene.

For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, a great deal of handheld camera work occurs in the film.


ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Héctor is high from heroin, as is another man, when Puchi retrieves her husband. Taking him to a concert in a limo, she tries to get him to snort some coke to pep him up, but a bump in the road causes it to spill onto his clothed lap. She then playfully licks up some of that from there. Another man in the limo also appears to be doing drugs.
  • Some cigarette or pot smoking occurs at a concert.
  • We see beer and liquor bottles on a piano.
  • Some record executives drink.
  • People drink at a party.
  • Puchi shows Héctor how to smoke pot and both do. She then playfully pokes various points on his upper body, asking if he feels anything, with him playfully telling her to keep going (presumably meaning down his body).
  • Héctor and Eddie carry beer in brown paper bags (and are seen doing so in several later scenes). About the above pot smoking, Héctor comments on being so high.
  • Héctor has beer with dinner.
  • Puchi sarcastically jokes that her family is into drug dealing when she feels she's being interrogated by Héctor's sister over dinner.
  • We see a man who appears to be passed out, and a woman playfully licks his face.
  • Héctor shows Puchi packets of what are presumably drugs.
  • Miscellaneous people drink as viewed in a montage.
  • Miscellaneous people have beer.
  • Willie smokes pot and offers some to Héctor.
  • There's some miscellaneous beer drinking.
  • We see more drinking.
  • Héctor doesn't show up for his wedding to Puchi, so she goes to his hotel room where she finds him asleep and/or passed out among other bachelor party attendees. A miscellaneous woman snorts some coke there.
  • Héctor shoots up heroin.
  • We see Héctor dressed as Santa and smoking pot.
  • People drink at a party.
  • Various montages show people drinking.
  • Puchi, Héctor, and others snort coke.
  • Puchi has champagne.
  • Héctor, Puchi, and others drink.
  • Puchi finds Héctor right after he's shot up some heroin.
  • We see bottles of liquor on Puchi and Héctor's bar.
  • Stuck in traffic, Héctor snorts some coke and rubs more on his gums.
  • We see some miscellaneous heroin use.
  • Puchi snorts coke.
  • Héctor holds a bottle of champagne
  • Héctor drinks at a bar, as do others.
  • Héctor drinks.
  • We see Héctor doing more heroin in a montage.
  • Héctor has a drink in a club.
  • Héctor complains that he and Puchi haven't been straight (presumably meaning sober and/or off drugs) for more than 3 hours in the past 20 years.
  • Puchi has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Héctor vomits into a toilet while high on pot.
  • We hear the sound of Willie urinating.
  • We see what looks like some blood on the gloved hands of paramedics tending to a wounded person.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers might not like Eddie saying that Puerto Rican women are natural born nurses (meaning their desire to care for others).
  • Puchi sarcastically jokes that her family is into drug dealing when she feels she's being interrogated by Héctor's sister over dinner.
  • We learn that Héctor cheated on Puchi by impregnating another woman, and Puchi says it wasn't meant to be (implying a subsequent miscarriage or abortion).
  • Héctor doesn't show up for his wedding to Puchi, so she goes to his hotel room where she finds him asleep and/or passed out among other bachelor party attendees.
  • A character asks another, "Are you f*cking retarded?"
  • Héctor is often late for gigs and such, thus putting a strain on his business relationships.
  • Puchi wakes up to find Héctor with a handgun in his hand (and he's then committed in a psychiatric hospital). Later, when Tito asks if they're going to visit Héctor, Puchi (who's snorting coke) says they'll go next week.
  • Puchi and Héctor's sister briefly have it out over Héctor ending up in a psychiatric hospital, with Puchi telling her, "Go get f*cked."
  • When Puchi comes home in a sexy dress, Héctor says, "My favorite little whore," prompting her to ask if he's in a sexy mood. Instead, he's paranoid and jealous, causing him to grab and throw her to the sofa, demanding to know where she's been. She then sarcastically asks, "You really want to know who I'm f*cking?" She then says it's the entire band, except for the singer (Héctor), adding that he can't "get it up."
  • Héctor says that a relationship with Puchi is now impossible, infuriating her (she replies, among other things, "You f*cking selfish bastard").
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Puchi wakes up to find Héctor with a handgun in his hand (and he's then committed in a psychiatric hospital).
  • Despondent over his failing career, Héctor goes out onto his hotel balcony and then starts to climb over the railing. We hear that he jumped, but don't see the impact, although we briefly see him being transported in an ambulance (he lives).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Puchi finds a handgun among Héctor's things.
  • Puchi wakes up to find Héctor with a handgun in his hand (and he's then committed in a psychiatric hospital).
  • Puchi yells out to Héctor that he doesn't have a son anymore, with her continuing in the hindsight interview that Tito was accidentally shot in the stomach by his best friend (we see a flashback to Tito secretly taking the gun and putting it into the front of his pants to sneak it out of the house.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What, are you a f*cking..." "Don't f*cking get insulting," "Get the f*ck out of here," "All his f*ck-ups," "Are you f*cking retarded?" "F*cking up again," "F*ck you," "Shut the f*ck up," "Leave me the f*ck alone," "Who the f*ck do you think you are?" "I'm not the only one f*cking up," "F*ck him," "Go get f*cked," "Where the f*ck were you?" "F*ck it," "What the f*ck?" "That's your f*cking genius idea," "You f*cking selfish bastard," what sounded like "M*therf*cker," "I don't give a sh*t," "Oh sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "I can't deal with your crazy sh*t," "Don't start with that sh*t," "Can't do sh*t now," "My favorite little whore," "Give me a break," "Can you move your ass so I can see her ass," "What, are you nuts?" "Stop playing around with silly little bitches," "Where the hell is he?" "Shut up" and "Bitch" (what Puchi says about herself).
  • We see a miscellaneous bare midriff.
  • Despondent over his failing career, Héctor goes out onto his hotel balcony and then starts to climb over the railing. We hear that he jumped, but don't see the impact, although we briefly see him being transported in an ambulance (he lives).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None, but some songs had lyrics that we couldn't understand, thus presenting the possibility of them potentially containing objectionable material.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 72 "f" words (5 used sexually, as is the term "do," and what sounded like 1 use with "mother"), 12 "s" words, 3 asses, 1 hell and 1 use of "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see several views of Puchi in a bathtub, but don't see anything more than bare shoulders.
  • Puchi shows varying amounts of cleavage (sometimes a lot, such as when leaning over) in various outfits in various scenes.
  • Puchi playfully licks some spilled cocaine from Héctor's clothed lap.
  • We see a close-up view of a clothed female butt sashaying to some salsa music.
  • Puchi's brother warns Héctor not to "f*ck with her" unless he wants to "f*ck her" (or something along those lines).
  • Puchi shows Héctor how to smoke pot and both do. She then playfully pokes various points on his upper body, asking if he feels anything, with him playfully telling her to keep going (presumably meaning down his body).
  • Puchi comments on the first time she and Héctor were together, and we then see an exterior view of a parked car moving from the sex occurring in it. We then see an interior car view of Héctor moving on top of Puchi, but she complains about it hurting. He asks if it's him, but she says it's the backseat. We then see a view of her moving on top of him, but there isn't any explicit nudity.
  • We see a man who appears to be passed out, and a woman playfully licks his face. We also see miscellaneous women in bikinis and/or their bras and panties (with lots of skin and cleavage present), including them jumping into a pool dressed that way. One man cavorts with such a scantly clad woman and follows her into a room. We also see Héctor by such a scantly clad woman, and while we don't see anything happen, it's implied they have sex then and/or later.
  • Puchi dances around sexily in small shorts and a midriff-revealing top while watching a woman doing similar dancing on the TV. Héctor asks her to move her "ass" so that he can see the same on the TV woman, with Puchi then playfully saying he can touch and have her "ass," but not that of the woman on the TV. She then crawls on top of him, undoes his pants and runs her hands up under his shirt, but nothing else sexual occurs.
  • Puchi tells Héctor she's "late" (pregnant), and we then hear that he also got another woman pregnant at the same time.
  • Héctor doesn't show up for his wedding to Puchi, so she goes to his hotel room where she finds him asleep and/or passed out among other bachelor party attendees. A woman is seen in her bra and panties, while a man is seen in his boxers.
  • Several scenes feature women doing some sexy/sensual salsa dancing (clothed), while Puchi dances and shakes her clothed chest in one such scene.
  • Puchi and another clothed woman do some sexy dancing, including rubbing their clothed butts together, while the shape of Puchi's nipples can be seen under her dress.
  • While high, Puchi and Héctor watch a male friend with a clothed woman leaning back against him on his lap, somewhat grinding, with his hands groping her clothed breasts. Puchi asks Héctor if he likes that, and then says that if Héctor will have sex with that guy (saying it will turn her on), she'll "do" the woman. He refuses, but we then see Puchi mocking rear entry intercourse while behind and partially on top of that woman, grinding away (both are clothed).
  • We see Puchi in her bra (showing cleavage).
  • Puchi tells Héctor he needs to spend time with his son and "making love to your wife."
  • Puchi's in a bubble bath and we can see just the tops of her breasts. Héctor then gets into the tub opposite her, still clothed, and the two start to kiss, but the scene ends there.
  • We see black and white, artsy views of Héctor and Puchi having sex, mostly in head & shoulders or close-up views of her face (no nudity, no sounds).
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • When Puchi comes home in a sexy dress, Héctor says, "My favorite little whore," prompting her to ask if he's in a sexy mood. Instead, he's paranoid and jealous, causing him to grab and throw her to the sofa, demanding to know where she's been. She then sarcastically asks, "You really want to know who I'm f*cking?" She then says it's the entire band, except for the singer (Héctor), adding that he can't "get it up." Additional sexual uses of the "f" word are used in this fight.
  • SMOKING
  • Héctor and Puchi each smoke more than 15 times, while Eddie, Ralph and Willie also smoke, as do many minor and miscellaneous characters (cigarettes and cigars).
  • A voodoo type woman blows cigar or other smoke onto Héctor in a ritual.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Héctor's dad warns the young man about going to NYC, saying he already lost one son there.
  • We hear that Héctor's brother died in the past.
  • Héctor doesn't show up for his wedding to Puchi, so she goes to his hotel room where she finds him asleep and/or passed out among other bachelor party attendees.
  • Puchi tells Héctor that she loves him, even when it looks like she doesn't.
  • Puchi and Héctor argue within earshot of their son, and there's some brief struggling between them.
  • Puchi wakes up to find Héctor with a handgun in his hand (and he's then committed in a psychiatric hospital). Later, when Tito asks if they're going to visit Héctor, Puchi (who's snorting coke) says they'll go next week.
  • Puchi and Héctor's sister briefly have it out over Héctor ending up in a psychiatric hospital, with Puchi telling her, "Go get f*cked."
  • We hear that Héctor was five when his mom died (and that's when he started singing).
  • When Puchi comes home in a sexy dress, Héctor says, "My favorite little whore," prompting her to ask if he's in a sexy mood. Instead, he's paranoid and jealous, causing him to grab and throw her to the sofa, demanding to know where she's been. She then sarcastically asks, "You really want to know who I'm f*cking?" She then says it's the entire band, except for the singer (Héctor), adding that he can't "get it up."
  • When Héctor and his family visit his homeland, his father (reacting to previous news reports of Héctor's troubles) says that he doesn't want him there.
  • Puchi and Héctor argue in front of their son again, with the ceramic ashtray Tito made for Héctor getting broken in the process.
  • We hear that Héctor is HIV positive, with that putting more strain on his and Puchi's marriage.
  • Puchi yells out to Héctor that he doesn't have a son anymore, with her continuing in the hindsight interview that Tito was accidentally shot in the stomach by his best friend (we see a flashback to Tito secretly taking the gun and putting it into the front of his pants). Puchi then continues that Héctor died (emotionally) that day with his son, and we briefly see the graveside service (with grieving parents).
  • Héctor says that a relationship with Puchi is now impossible, infuriating her (she replies, among other things, "You f*cking selfish bastard").
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The real story behind the movie and any artistic license it may take with the truth.
  • Salsa music.
  • Why so many recording artists' lives follow nearly the same trajectory of career and personal highs and lows.
  • We hear that Héctor is HIV positive, with that putting more strain on his and Puchi's marriage.
  • Jerry changing Héctor's last name from the common Perez to the more exotic sounding Lavoe.
  • Puchi tells Héctor she's "late" (pregnant), and we then hear that he also got another woman pregnant at the same time.
  • Puchi's comment that the bigger Héctor became as an artist, the farther he sank as a human being.
  • Suicide attempts.
  • We hear that Héctor died at the age of 46 from AIDS contracted by his drug use.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We briefly see a drug dealer pushing Héctor around, including down to a sofa.
  • When Puchi comes home in a sexy dress, Héctor says, "My favorite little whore," prompting her to ask if he's in a sexy mood. Instead, he's paranoid and jealous, causing him to grab and throw her to the sofa, demanding to know where she's been.
  • When Puchi approaches Héctor in a club, he has two men restrain her and one does so physically.
  • Despondent over his failing career, Héctor goes out onto his hotel balcony and then starts to climb over the railing. We hear that he jumped, but don't see the impact, although we briefly see him being transported in an ambulance (he lives).



  • Reviewed July 23, 2007 / Posted August 3, 2007

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