Hulu’s new romantic comedy The Valet is a love letter to the romantic comedy genre as well as to Los Angeles’ diverse communities. The film follows world-famous movie star, Olivia (Samara Weaving) who faces a PR disaster when a paparazzi snaps a photo of her with her very rich and very married lover, Vincent (Max Greenfield). A hard-working valet Antonio (Eugenio Derbez) accidentally appears in the same photo and is enlisted to pose as Olivia’s new boyfriend as a cover-up. This ruse with Olivia thrusts Antonio into the spotlight and unexpected chaos follows.

The Valet is an English language remake of the French film of the same name. This new version is set in Los Angeles among a landscape of beautifully diverse neighborhoods and cultures. As these different worlds and cultures collide, both Olivia and Antonio start to see themselves more clearly than ever before. It is a film about finding out who you really are and what you really want.

A Love Letter To Los Angeles

The film also feels like a love letter to Los Angeles and the diversity and rich cultures that make Los Angeles so unique. Some of the scenes that I loved most in the film were the scenes where Antonio (Debrez) is bicycling or walking through the different neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has so many different landscapes in such a small radius. From upscale and polished neighborhoods to neighborhoods that are much more humble.

The Valet – Antonio (Eugenio Derbez) and Olivia (Samara Weaving), shown. (Photo by: Karen Ballard/Hulu)

Each of these neighborhoods has its own culture and its own history. Too often in Hollywood films, the lower-income neighborhoods are depicted as being rough or dangerous, and the lifestyles of the wealthy and powerful are depicted as what people should aspire to. However, in this film, these humble neighborhoods are depicted, as I have so often seen them, as warm communities that are full of life and with family and unity at their focus. And although the film does this subtly, it reminds us that more is not always better. I believe the film benefits from having diversity both on and off-screen. The Valet is directed by Richard Wong and produced by Ben Odell and Eugenio Derbez (3Pas Studios). Having diversity both on and off-screen sets this film aside when it comes to Romantic Comedies.

The film is filled with tiny little details that make the film feel authentic while avoiding overused stereotypes. Things like the blankets seen on Antiniow’s bed, to the food prepared by his mother. Another way that the film is able to do this is in the language. When Antonio is with his friends and family he speaks in Spanish, The fact that the film switches to Spanish for a large portion of the film makes the story feel more real. and the way they speak is not polished or perfectly grammatical. There is a lot of slang used and a lot of euphemisms. The fact that Antonio has an accent while his ex-wife and wife’s child do not also speak to the Mexican American experience. Many first-generation families have this dynamic and it’s beautiful to see it represented and normalized on screen.

The Valet -Olivia (Samara Weaving) and Antonio (Eugenio Derbez), shown. (Photo by: Dan McFadden/Hulu)

Great Humor And Wonderful Performances

In line with Debrez’s comedic style, the film is both really funny and has a ton of heart. Films staring Debrez never fail to pull at your heartstrings. In an interview with Debrez last year while he was promoting his AppleTV+ series Acapulco, we asked Debrez about how is he able to tackle series subject matter in such a funny way while still getting the points across. He told us then “The best way to educate someone is through comedy.” He told us that he tries to write about things that bother him and turn them into funny sketches. That also holds true for The Valet where Antonio and his community must deal with issues like Gentrification and Classism. Samara Weaving and Eugenio Derbez are absolutely adorable together. I found myself rooting for them the entire time. Max Greenfield is so charming and perfectly funny, that it makes it not like his character, even when we as the audience are supposed to dislike him.

The Valet – Olivia (Samara Weaving) and Vincent Royce (Max Greenfield), shown. (Photo by: Dan McFadden/Hulu)

But it is really the supporting cast that makes this movie shine. This is a large ensemble cast and everyone played their roles wonderfully. From Vincent’s scorned wife, Antonio’s co-workers and family, to Olivia’s personal assistant. This film was filled with a lot of great moments from even the smallest of side characters. The entire film felt authentic to the lives of Angelinos and was just a pleasure to watch.

Some of the funniest scenes have to do with Antonio’s mother and their awkward conversations. In these scenes, they manage to give the audience second-hand embarrassment with the cringey things his mother says to him without making his mother the butt of the joke. It is relatable humor with a lot of heart. Actress Carmen Salinas Lozano, who plays Antonio’s mother was absolutely perfect. Her portrayal was warm and funny and you could feel the love the character had for her children and for life. Sadly, the actress passed away in December 2021 while the film was in post-production.

The Valet Has plenty Of Meaningful Twists

The story has all the traditional components needed for that classic rom-com feel. It’s got love triangles, unrequited love, and ridiculously complicated plans that never seem to work out and make for hilarious moments. It also comes packed with a few really meaningful twists. One of the best things about watching the film is seeing how powerful love can be. How it can transform people for the better or how it can devastate you. It’s fun to watch who ultimately ends up together, which relationships work out, and to see why others are destined to fail.

Love is always at the center of every moment in this film. Whether it is a romantic love, familial, or love for your friends and community. Overall the film is highly enjoyable and shines a light on the underrepresented communities in Los Angeles and gives them a moment to be seen as the main characters.

The Valet premieres on Hulu and across Disney streaming services globally on May 20th, 2022.

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