Hyperactive monologist and character actor Leguizamo provides the narrated tour of his life.
It's difficult to reconcile this plain and tired string of well-rehearsed anecdotes with the livewire, mercurial actor who can always be counted on to spark up the screen or stage. Maybe he just put so much into his legendary biographical one-man shows that there was nothing left. Born in Bogotá to high-drama parents whose ethnic blend included Italian, Colombian, Native American and Lebanese, Leguizamo grew up in Queens and knew early on that he wanted to be a performer. As just one of many class clowns in high school, Leguizamo had to work hard to stand out—there was so much competition to sit at the funniest cafeteria table that he would start writing jokes the day before. A couple plays at the renowned Public Theatre led to a stereotypical part as a gangster on Miami Vice, just one of many compromises the aspiring actor had to make in the ’80s, a lean time for Latino performers: “You'd see the same guys at every audition: me, Benicio del Toro, Benjamin Bratt, Luiz Guzman.” More roles followed, as well as Leguizamo's one-man show, Mambo Mouth, the first of four semi-autobiographical shows that incorporated satirical skits and traded heavily on family drama. For fans, there is interesting material related to behind-the-scenes melodramas on movies like Moulin Rouge and Summer of Sam, and even bombs like Super Mario Brothers. But most of the engaging stuff has already been covered in his quartet of live shows, and there's little left to go over but some dully related and thinly conceived pronouncements on film and life that wouldn't sound out of place on a DVD commentary.
Sedate stuff from an actor and writer who is normally anything but.