17 April 2008 | alonzoiii-1
This distressingly dull attempt to cash in on the cha-cha-cha craze has a smidgen of good music, a large number of so-so mambos, and only one true cha cha cha. The musical performances -- unlike with the rock n roll movies -- do not have much visual panache, so that one is left staring at a band just sitting there and playing. Oddly enough, the standout number is the non-Latin Mary Kaye trio doing a swinging version of Lonesome Road. (Too bad their other two numbers are dreadful.) The numbers by Manny Lopez -- full of flutes and a string section -- have a very authentic Cuban sound, but perhaps a bit twee sounding when compared with the mambos and cha-cha-chas that became popular in the US.
There is a plot -- something about an A&R man going out on his own to start a record company based on finding a new sound somewhere in Cuba. (Somehow the dolt missed Benny More, but did dig up his old boss Perez Prado.) It, if possible, is even a little more disposable than the usual Sam Katzman hack job. There is the usual hot blooded Latina stereotyping, a typically offensive jungle rhythm kind of number, and average for the day 50s sexual stereotyping.
If you like Cuban music, go find yourself an old LP instead, or put on a Buena Vista Social Club CD. This one is just not worth the time.