PAPI CHULO

4 stars

Sean (Matt Bomer), a gay TV weatherman in Los Angeles who is recently single, has a mini-meltdown on camera, and is put on leave by his boss and encouraged by his colleagues and friends to “find someone to talk to.” Though they are thinking professional help, Sean’s denial keeps him from taking that route but, fiercely lonely, he begins to find another way.  Stuck for something to do besides leave unanswered voicemails on his ex’s phone, he begins a touch up job on the deck of his Hollywood Hills home. When the job proves more than he can handle, he hires Ernesto (Alejandro Patiño) a stout middle-aged Latino family man looking for work outside the hardware store. But work falls by the wayside as Sean keeps interrupting Ernesto to talk, to go for a canyon hike, for a rowboat ride on the lake, et cetera. The fact that Ernesto speaks little English and Sean only minimal Spanish doesn’t stop Sean from pouring his heart out.

This comedic drama works on a number of levels as the culture and class clash of Sean and Ernesto’s relationship is initially played for hilarious laughs. Bomer gives a brave performance: he is on screen for practically the entirety of the movie and portrays Sean’s loneliness and brittle coping with heart-breaking verisimilitude. Patiño is also very good in a subtle role, particularly in a key gay party scene and in cell phone chats with his wife in Spanish “…guess where I am now?” that function as a kind of grounding Greek chorus commenting on the increasingly unusual events.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s