The silver screen plays home to a Behind the Music sort of documentary, told through the eyes of someone who was there all along. This tale involves the godfather of salsa, Hector Lavoe, as told from the viewpoint of Puchi, his wife (and some may argue, enabler). While I'm not in the front of the TV every time an episode of such shows are on, I opted to pop by the theatre and see what Jennifer Lopez is up to these days.
Jump back to 1965 or so when Hector snuck into a nightclub, and within a few weeks he's on stage as the singer. Puchi explains he wasn't one who had to work hard, for very long, to succeed, and as such, we don't get the sense success or fame was anything he felt he'd really earned. They ended up having a son and getting married (in that order), though with news she's pregnant, Puchi told him to drop his on-the-side girls.
Hector was getting even further into drug use (cocaine, via needles), and fast-forward a few more years and he's diagnosed with HIV. His career is slowing down, his manager suggests a concert in his native Puerto Rico, but it's poorly attended. The spiral of drugs, poor choices, and bad friends has its effect on Hector and Puchi, shown in stunning clarity.
The film isn't something you're going to come out necessarily thinking show business and the music industry are glamorous places. It's a very gritty portrayal of how things were, at least for them, at least during the 1970s and 1980s (mostly). The couple lived in the fast lane, enjoyed all the perks and addictions that money and fame can bring you.
But back to J-Lo. Gigli notwithstanding, the girl can act. And in "El Cantante," she's got a range of emotions and reactions to show, from responding to the questions from the interviewers to her dealing with Hector, his friends and his lifestyle. The user and critic reviews both are lukewarm at best, and I'm solidly in the same camp. It's not the worst film this year by a long shot (most recently, "Bratz" continues to hold that title).
If you enjoy J-Lo or Marc Anthony, go. Otherwise, there's been tons of new flicks out this month, and plenty more will hold your interest and leave you without feeling robbed at the box office.