Apple TV + presents its first bilingual sitcom to the audience Acapulco, a workplace comedy with a nostalgic tendency. Eugenio Derbez produces and stars in this review of 1980s Mexican resort culture.
Will the audience continue their love affair with the Latino star?
Here’s the setup: In today’s California, billionaire Maximo Gallardo (played by Eugenio Derbez) has to give his nephew Hugo (Raphael Alejandro) a birthday present. But instead of taking him to China to get new sneakers, Maximo decides it’s time for Hugo to learn the most important lesson life has to offer: How to be your own man.
He tells him about the most important summer of his life, when he worked as a waiter and repairman in Las Colinas, the most popular resort in Acapulco. The hotel is owned by another former striker named Don Pablo (Damián Alcázar), who sees something of himself in young Maxim and gives him a chance.
Maximo meets creepy staff, including Julia (Camila Perez), a girl he develops feelings for (despite her relationship with the chief of staff). During that summer, Maximo learned a lot about life. Now she wants to instill in her young nephew how important hard work and life experience are.
Growing up, you can’t see the sign on the wall
Acapulco is supposedly a sequel / adaptation of Derbez’s 2017 film. How to be a fan of Latin American, directed by Ken Marino, about a character Maximo took care of himself after his older girlfriend kicked him out. Derbez decided to do it Acapulco, created by Austin Winsberg, Eduardo Cisneros and Jason Shuman, as a way to ride the wave of sitcoms of rich rags. (Rock and Eddie Huang have theirs; now Derbez has his.)
While the Apple TV + series complements the film, its kinship is more associated with TV shows like The Goldbergs (and the riff itself Wonderful years, which is also restart this year), with light humor and a relaxed atmosphere on the beach.
Your answer to Acapulco it will probably depend on how much you find Derbez’s harmless brand of humor … well … funny. No first joke in the first season Acapulco which I laughed at. But the design and artistic direction are excellent, so it’s not an awkward experience either.
Questionable life lessons
Derbez is on its way to becoming something like a stand on Apple TV +, after one of the leading Sundances broke CODA earlier this year. Like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Derbez here represents an extreme, capitalist version of a man he made himself, and whom America loves so much. (Too much, to be honest.) Maximo gets lessons on sales and self-branding that the show thinks are as important as learning how to court women and be alone.
The trouble here, other than the wide sitcom of humor that doesn’t fall to the surface, is that the show has just that the smallest self-criticism because of his vision of how to succeed. Just look at the character of Maximo’s sister Sara (Regina Reynoso), presented as a striking communist deeply upset that Maximo will be working for a resort that trades with other local staff.
By the end of the first episode of the series Acapulco, wants to hear about all the exciting things that have happened at the hotel. Her policy of good weather is conceived as a joke because in the world of a show like this, no one is seriously meant to have a problem with what is happening in Las Colinas.
If they are, there is no show. The hotel would be burned to the ground with everyone in the finals. But you can’t do that because the lesson of the show is that money is good, but also you have to learn about life to be able to say that you have earned your wealth.
Light touch with very little risk
There are worse things a show can do. Acapulco it’s not nearly as bad as other Apple TV + shows that follow trends with a highly tailored audience Central Park, Little Voice or Physically. But that’s mostly because this show doesn’t risk or commit to much more than a superficial treatment of topics.
However, this is not the most beautiful or safest debut the show can have. Acapulco stronger writers are needed for success because his conceit will not become interesting if they do not take a serious risk with the premise, which will not happen. The show should strive to do more than the minimum, but that’s not what Apple TV + encourages or rewards.
Watch Acapulco on Apple TV +
Acapulco premieres on Apple TV + on October 8, and new episodes come out on Friday.
Look at: Apple TV +
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of a long series of video essays The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He wrote for The Village Voice, Movie Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books i Nylon Magazine. He is the director of 25 feature films and the author of more than 300 video essays that can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.
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