Just a Nice Little Film...With Terrific Music
Greg Robertson | Historic Quincy, MA | 12/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like most films that feature a lot of great music, the story itself here is nothing to get excited about. Even so, the acting is excellent, the story IS charming, and my wife got all misty about the romance aspect of it. Highly recommended as part of a romantic date night in...even if you've been married to your date for a while."
Music By The Numbers--Leguizamo And Company Want To Put On A
K. Harris | Albuquerque, NM | 03/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"John Leguizamo is an engaging performer and perhaps one of our most underrated personalities. His willingness to take risks and unconventional roles has led to a more diverse film career than you might expect. Unfortunately, more often than not, these choices have taken him down a dubious path. With a resume littered with more interesting "misses" than artistically successful films, Leguizamo still manages to stand out as a talent--his bravado and gusto usually the best thing in a picture that has misfired. His presence in "Sueno," therefore, is a welcome sight--for if ever there was a picture that needed "edge," it's this sweet little concoction.
A throwback to more innocent times (although contemporary in setting), "Sueno" is a standard underdog story. Lovable Leguizamo, perhaps too subdued in this performance, is a talented musician looking to get his big break. As a Mexican immigrant, breaking into and succeeding in the Los Angeles musical arena is tantamount to living the American dream. Lucky for him, then, that there is a Latin radio contest (a battle of the bands) that will give its winner much exposure. As you might expect, Leguizamo now has to bring together a group of misfit musicians to form "the next big sound." Of course, the film provides a stock villain in a rival and unnecessarily ruthless musician--hmmm, I wonder if they'll have a showdown on stage? Sprinkle in some romance, slap on a tidy ending--and it's an undeniably pleasant crowd pleaser! Maybe, but one that holds no surprises and no original ideas.
It's hard not to have some fondness for a film that turns the gritty urban music scene into something that rivals the "Aw shucks, let's put on a show!" mentality of an old Mickey Rooney classic. Because "Sueno" is fantasy, pure and simple. And if the main narrative of the film doesn't convince you of this fact, the awkwardly inserted and whimsical musical numbers should do the trick. These numbers provide some entertainment factor, but I would contend that they are not particularly well integrated and therefore seem to be visiting from a completely different film. Still, if you're looking for something with moderate charms and superficial entertainment value--you could do worse than "Sueno." If, however, you're looking for something more enduring or memorable--go ahead and keep looking.
Slight and unassuming, there isn't anything in "Sueno" that you haven't seen before--many times. But with likable leads in Elizabeth Pena (as an unlikely lead singer) and Leguizamo, musical interludes, and a pleasant soundtrack--I suspect many will embrace this film. But like a snow cone on a hot summer day, it's sweetness may be refreshing in the now--but, ultimately, it may leave you with an underlying need for something more substantial and/or satisfying. KGHarris, 03/07."