Chasing Papi (2003)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Chase Movie, Farce  |   Release Date - Apr 16, 2003 (USA)  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Featherweight and certainly more than a little annoying, Chasing Papi nonetheless fares better than anticipated, given the shrill episodes featured in the trailers. At certain moments, its pastel production design mimics guilty pleasures like Bring It On and Charlie's Angels, effectively enough that it's almost tempting to label Chasing Papi its own guilty pleasure. Almost. The Charlie's Angels associations come from grouping together three disparate female types -- the buxom babe, the intellectual career woman, and the princess -- and sending them through a series of set pieces and other pratfalls that exploit their archetypal traits in a way that's more fun than insulting. What's not so fab is that the women initially remain devoted to their philandering boyfriend (Eduardo Verastegui), catfighting for a prize that should have lost its luster, and teaming up to protect him, rather than kicking him to the curb. That spares us the distaff revenge fantasy promised in the trailers, but it requires the women to continue desperately hoping he'll choose them, when they should be seizing their untapped feminism long before the coda. Then again, it's hard to take revenge on a guy who spends much of the movie unconscious on tranquilizers. While this tends to negate the "chasing" aspect of the title, it was undoubtedly a smart decision, given Verastegui's limited acting chops. Roselyn Sanchez, SofĂ­a Vergara, and Jaci Velasquez show more energetic talents, and their sense of fun is contagious, almost in spite of the audience's better judgment. Six Feet Under's Freddy Rodriguez also turns in a comically unintelligible performance as a hoodlum with a toothache.