Do we really need a Mexican version of Ocean's 11?
Ladron Que Roba a Ladron

Ladrón que roba a ladrón

Cast: Fernando Colunga, Saúl Lisazo, Miguel Varoni, Ivonne Monteroand Gabriel Soto
Screenplay: JoJo Henrickson
Director: Joe Menéndez
Rated: R

Grade: C

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If you're an avid telenovela-watcher on networks likeTelemundo and Univisión, then you'll see a lot of familiar faces in Ladrón que roba a ladrón (Thief Who Robs a Thief). The comedy tells the story of Emilio (Miguel Varoni), ahigh-class criminal who, with the help of his friend Alejandro (Fernando Colunga), tries to rob wealthy businessman Valdez and givehis fortune to the people he'd swindled it from in the first place.

Ladrón boasts good acting and some comedic highpoints, but these two pluses don't add up to an overall positivemovie-going experience. First off, the movie is so heavy withsoap-opera actors that it makes it seem like a two-hour version of atelenovela. The flick's second problem is that it's so much like Ocean's Eleven that you find yourself wanting it to be as good as that movie, which it isn't.

Ladrón will be successful with English-speakingU.S. audiences. But based on the prior explanation of the film'sflaws, it'll have some trouble pleasing Hispanic movie-lovers. Here'swhy:

The movie, a Lionsgate Films production, is another Hollywoodattempt to get a more Latin audience into theaters. It's a nice idea,but bad business. The United States has a painful view of Latincinema, in that they seem to have one simple formula in mind: famousLatin cast plus typical Hollywood plot equals Hispanic cinematicsmash. Not so much.

Latin flicks produced by U.S. film companies, like Chasing Papi, for example, just stereotype and degrade Hispanic culture by portraying what they hink is Hispanic culture.

True Latin cinema can only be seen in movies like Argentina'sLa historia official, Brazil's City of God, Cuba's Memorias del subdesarrollo, Colombia's La vendedora de rosas, Mexico's El ángel exterminador andSpain's Todo sobre mi madre.

Different cultural groups don't just go to the movies to heartheir own language being spoken; they go to see a good story. Ladrón que roba a ladrón is much better than ChasingPapi, but it's not at the level that we want movies portraying ourculture to be.

Maybe the next generation of Hispanic-American directors willup the caliber Latin cinema in the United States. Unfortunately forus, that day is still a ways away.