Eugenio Derbez is in the driver’s seat in Hulu rom-com ‘The Valet’

Dan McFadden/Hulu
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Mexican comedy king Eugenio Derbez has a history of making successful crossover movies in Hollywood.

For example, the 2013 flick ‘Instructions Not Included’ racked up more than $100 million at the U.S. box office.

That won’t happen with his latest offering, ‘The Valet.’ Not because the English-language remake of the French hit movie falls short of clicking with an American audience, but because it is being offered on Hulu and not at theaters.

Either way, U.S. audiences will laugh their way through this 2-hour, 12-minute romantic comedy not just because of Derbez, whose comedic chops rate up there with any other comedian worldwide but because of the late Mexican icon Carmen Salinas.

Salinas – who died in December at age 81 with appearances in 115 films – steals the movie while barely any spoken English. (Don’t worry, there are English subtitles).

‘The Valet,’ directed by Richard Wong, puts Beverly Hills restaurant valet Antonio (Derbez) in a pickle when he is accidentally photographed by a paparazzi who thinks he’s captured famous movie star Olivia (Samara Weaving) with her married lover Vincent (Max Greenfield).

Vincent, a developer who relies on his wife’s wealth, concocts a scheme with his lawyer to have the valet pretend to be Olivia’s new boyfriend to cover up the affair. Antonio, meanwhile, is trying to repair his estranged marriage.

The result is like pairing caviar with chilaquiles. Unimaginable at first, but something you could stomach.

Derbez & Company mine the cultural clash for laughs, but the real thread of ‘The Valet’ is the humanity of a Latino working class that most upper class Angelenos won’t acknowledge despite their contributions as gardeners, restaurant workers, cooks and, yes, valets.

Many Latinos can relate to the restaurant scene where Antonio excuses himself from a table with Olivia to go to the bathroom. On the way, diners mistake Antonio for a server and ask him for water refills.

Antonio obliges.

“Being invisible is not fun,” Antonio tells Olivia in one scene. “You hand someone their keys and they don’t look you in the eye.”

It’s like there’s two worlds in Los Ángeles, and both sides coexist with each other despite ignoring each other. Even Olivia is taken aback that she’s grown up in the area since she was 16 and never realized MacArthur Park existed.

How’s this for cultural clash? Antonio’s mother, Cecilia, is having an affair with the apartment manager, a Korean who speaks no Spanish or English. The language of love knows no boundaries, even though Antonio doesn’t want to hear the raunchy details from his mother.

This movie is about authenticity. Antonio’s family may be poor, but it is far richer in ways that money can’t define.