Film Review: ‘Papi Chulo’

  • Variety
Film Review: ‘Papi Chulo’
Let’s say you want to make a movie about the dynamic between middle-class white folks and the undocumented dayworkers they employ (some would say “exploit”) in a city like Los Angeles. There are plenty of ways to go about it, any number of which could offer a welcome chance to illuminate the ubiquitous but under-chronicled relationship between those two groups: You could make a sentimental dramedy about a cross-cultural friendship, à la “Spanglish” or “Green Book,” or maybe a tense thriller in which the risk of arrest and deportation reveals the lopsided power balance that locks immigrants into such servitude.

Or you could come up with something totally out-of-touch and off-the-wall like “Papi Chulo,” an egregiously miscalculated rent-a-companion comedy from Irish writer-director John Butler (“Handsome Devil”), in which an egocentric gay man (Matt Bomer), abandoned by his longtime Latino lover, hires an undocumented handyman (California-born actor Alejandro Patiño) to
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