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‘Acapulco’ season 2 review: Hearty but run-of-the-mill Spanglish telenovela

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Enrique Arrizon and Camila Perez as Máximo Gallardo and Julia in ‘Acapulco’
| Photo Credit: Apple TV+

The bright pastel colours that stain the screen make for an easy gateway to the world of Apple TV+’s Acapulco. Set in 1980s Mexico, the show charts the rise of Máximo Gallardo (Enrique Arrizon/Eugenio Derbez), from a pool boy at Acapulco’s premium resort, Las Colinas, to a billionaire in the United States of America, nostalgic for the colours of Mexico.

Narrated in How I Met Your Mother fashion, the older Máximo (Eugenio Derbez) recounts his rags-to-riches story to his nephew Hugo (Raphael Alejandro). In the first season, we saw Máximo (Enrique Arrizon) land a job at the resort and thrive by the pool, thanks to Don Pablo Bonilla’s (Damián Alcázar) mentorship and Memo’s (Fernando Carsa) friendship. Máximo’s brush with teenage romance, courtesy of the popular front desk employee Julia (Camila Perez), ended in heartbreak when Julia who was dating the resort’s owner Diane Davies’ (Jessica Collins) son, Chad (Chord Overstreet), agrees to marry him.

Acapulco (Season 2)

Director: Richard Shepard

Episodes: 10

Cast: Eugenio Derbez, Enrique Arrizon, Damián Alcázar, Fernando Carsa, Camila Perez, Chord Overstreet, Jessica Collins

Storyline: Máximo Gallardo’s dream comes true when he gets the job of a lifetime at Acapulco’s hottest resort, Las Colinas; however, he soon realizes that working there will be far more complicated than he ever imagined.

The second season kicks off with older Máximo and Hugo travelling to Don Pablo’s memorial service. Máximo starts his narration about the events of 1985, a very significant year for him both professionally and personally. The year begins with Máximo trying to come to terms with Julia and Chad’s engagement and keep up with his new promotion.

1985 is a year of second chances at Las Colinas — Máximo loses his job, gets it back, and finds comfort with a friend; Nora (Vanessa Bauche) has a second chance at love and copes with understanding her daughter’s sexuality; Don Pablo experiments with devoting time to his personal life only to realise he truly felt at home at the resort and gives it a second chance; and Chad takes a bet on himself and ventures into undiscovered territories.

Let us get the bad things out of the way — the animated acting that haunted us throughout the first season continues and some sub-plots of the show might feel all too old to the veteran sitcom audience.

However, this Spanglish show has its highs. It’s a run-of-the-mill one-camera sitcom, within the walls of a rich hotel, but one that skilfully manages to juxtapose the bougie hotel guests’ problems with the daily struggles of the low-income employees, while relying on everyday cultural tropes of Mexico, giving us great insight into the hues of the country’s culture. While the first season set the scene for a joyous ride peppered with nostalgia, season two builds on this by occasionally cornering the characters in uncomfortable situations that result in heartwarming gestures and comedic gold.

The show’s portrayal of the lives of young LGBT+ adults in 80s Mexico is moving and Regina Reynoso as Sara, the lesbian daughter of a Catholic mother, aces her lines and comes into her own in the latest season.

Enrique Arrizon, as the starry-eyed pool boy, and Camila Perez, as the ambitious and determined Jane Austen fangirl, have great chemistry. The supporting actors, from Jessica Collins to Fernando Carsa, fit their roles perfectly and help elevate the sentiment of the show.

Acapulco is a show waiting for its time in the spotlight and I hope its time to shine is just around the corner.

Acapulco is currently streaming on Apple TV+

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