El Cantante

Rated 3.0

The life of salsa singer Héctor Lavoe (Marc Anthony) and his stormy marriage to Nilda “Puchi” Rosado (Jennifer Lopez), from their meeting in the 1960s to his death in 1993, told in flashbacks as she is being interviewed in 2002. The focus on Lopez (who also served as producer) gives the film a faint air of a vanity production for her and her husband-co-star Anthony, but they both back up the vanity with excellent performances (she hasn’t been this good in years). The film’s structure (written by David Darmstaeder, Todd Anthony Bello and director Leon Ichaso) is rather formless and chaotic at times, but the musical numbers throb with vibrant energy, the dramatic scenes have a convincing aura of urban grit, and Ichaso draws strong performances from the large (and largely unknown) supporting cast.