Papi Chulo – Movie Review: An Awkward Queer Comedy that Works Way Better than It Should

Papi Chulo
Papi Chulo

The Matt Bomer starrer Papi Chulo is a queer film that ends up working way better than it should. Sitting through the approximately 98-minute running time was an immense joy. I recommend you consider watching it this weekend.

I was provided a free screener of Papi Chulo for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.

Papi Chulo is from Irish writer/director John Butler. Some of you might have already seen his previous queer film Handsome Devil. The current title has Matt Bomer playing the role of a weatherman, named Sean, who is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Alejandro Patiño plays Ernesto, a day laborer with whom Sean begins a very awkward relationship. 

I’m going to be honest with you all. I was a bit hesitant to watch this film because I had heard what certain people had said once the trailer was released. The trailer (and yes, even the weird title) doesn’t do this movie any justice.

On first look, Papi Chulo can come across as another film where a white, privileged man uses a POC immigrant to fix his life. But I have to say, in my opinion, it didn’t go down that unfortunate route, and that’s why it ended up being far better than what I was expecting.

If I wasn’t trying to give you all a proper review, I would just say WATCH THIS MOVIE! IT’S SO GOOD!

Anyway, back to me trying to write a review without giving spoilers: the script does touch on class divisions as well as the differences between being a white man (even a gay one) and a Mexican immigrant in America. There were many moments where the narrative could have taken a turn for the worst and made Ernesto a stereotype, or a tool solely existing to benefit Sean. But fortunately, the movie avoids such pitfalls.

I think one of the reasons (no spoilers) for such a narrative is because of how Sean’s written. He has many layers. I think you will like getting to know him. Once certain things are shared, the relationship between Sean and Ernesto, though awkward, will make a lot of sense to you. I mean, you might not like it, but at least you’ll be able to understand it.

If you’re into watching a queer film where being queer isn’t the focus and the narrative highlights the random connections we create in our lives, Papi Chulo is for you. It’s available on DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures.

Give it a watch and let me know your thoughts.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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