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When film credits don't include the writer/s names, problems can be expected. This little candy-coated attempt to explore how 'dreams really do come true' is more a music video than a full fledged film, a project where obviously the money was spent on the graphics of the opening credits and the staged musical numbers rather than on the script. This is not a bad movie: it is just predictably trite and places lines in the mouths of some very fine actors that must have been an embarrassment to speak.
Antonio (John Leguizamo, with lots of hair and none of his expected comedic edge) is a Mexican immigrant who lands in Los Angeles with his grandfather's philosophy to follow that dream ('Sueño') and believes he will find his major career in his music. Reality sets in immediately as he is forced to work in his uncle's Taco Stand and play his guitar and sing in sleazy deadbeat nightclubs. He meets a customer Nina (Ana Claudia Talancón) who dreams of becoming a veterinarian but is committed to caring for her ailing papa (Winston J. Rocha). Despite sweet Antonio's attempts to woo her, she remains adamant that she must devote her life to caring for papa. Next door to Anthony the apartment is occupied by Mirabella (Elizabeth Peña), a newly divorced, middle-aged pudgy ex-singer who does housekeeping and laundry to support her children while she dreams of once again becoming a star vocalist: again the heart of gold Antonio befriends her, hears her sing and insists she has great talent.
Antonio is encouraged by a good-hearted 'manager' Rafael (Jsu Garcia) and is paired with three other musicians to form a group El Gran Colectivo with the hesitant Mirabella as vocalist. There is the requisite Music Group Competition where against all odds the group competes out of faith and devotion to each other and the old type of music. That everyone's dream comes true is no surprise at all: the plot is so thin that the audience knows from the start how everything will resolve 'in a land where troubles melt like lemon drops...'.
The idea is sweet, the message is wholesome, and the strong cast does everything it can with the treacle of a script hampering them. But unless you have an appetite for candy and can wait for the occasional surrealism of the dream sequences, this venture may just put you in sugar overload. Grady Harp
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