Rated 3.0

This completely unheralded Latin American production, a biopic of the great Mexican comedy star Mario Moreno (aka Cantinflas), comes as a small but very welcome surprise. The bilingual screenplay moves back and forth between Moreno/Cantinflas’ early days in Mexican show business and the late 1950s in Hollywood and environs, where producer Michael Todd (played by Michael Imperioli) is trying to get an all-star cast together for his much-ballyhooed production of Around the World in 80 Days, the film that would bring Cantinflas to his greatest international success. The screenplay is fairly standard rags-to-riches show-biz stuff, but the period-piece details are generally flavorsome and the episodic glimpses of Mexican show-biz history are especially piquant. And Moreno’s journey from tent-show scrapper to big-time mover and shaker (superstar, union organizer, movie producer, patron of the arts, etc.) is fascinating, even in this simplified form. ”scar Jaenada’s superbly detailed evocation of Moreno/Cantinflas helps a great deal as well. Cinemark 14. Rated PG