Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 24
  2. Negative: 3 out of 24
  1. Anthony doesn't have a large emotional range as an actor, and neither does Lopez. Still, the musical numbers, which constitute a hefty portion of screen time, are thrilling.
  2. A special film, one that refuses to package a person's life into a comfortably familiar genre.
  3. It's a soaring, crashing, blazing affair with pyrotechnic performances by real-life spouses Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez as Lavoe and his wife, Puchi. Like a plane disaster, it holds you in thrall of ¡ay, Dios mio! drama.
  4. 70
    A star isn't born in El Cantante as much as it's reconfirmed. She's still here, and she's still got it.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The music is the uncontested highlight of El Cantante.
  6. 63
    Biopic cliches hamstring producer-star Jennifer Lopez's pet project.
  7. Unfortunately, the music is as irresistible as the tired story of a musician succumbing to substance abuse is resistible.
  8. Anthony, with his famished thousand-yard stare, turns in a delicate -- perhaps too delicate -- performance more informed by the shadow of Lavoe's death than the spark of his art. And his shrill domestic scenes with Lopez feel small and squalid, as we wait restlessly for the band to play us out.
  9. Turns out to be nothing special. Well, the music is. The storytelling is not.
  10. 50
    Anthony delivers a respectable performance, but his character never comes into sharp focus. Consequently, Lavoe emerges as a supporting character in his own story.
  11. 50
    It may be best to approach El Cantante less as a movie than as a two-hour promotional video for a must-have soundtrack album.
  12. The awkwardly told story of salsa legend Hector Lavoe, El Cantante doesn't even get the title right: It should have been called "La Esposa," since it's really less about the singer than his wife.
  13. 50
    A sizzling soundtrack and Jennifer Lopez's best performance since "Out of Sight" go only so far in El Cantante, a downer of a musical biopic that leaves no cliché unturned.
  14. 50
    If you're a fan of Hector Lavoe and Latin music, or Lopez and Anthony, you'll want to see El Cantante for what's good in it. Otherwise, you may be disappointed. The director (Leon Ichaso) and his co-writers haven't licked a crucial question: Why do we need to see this movie and not just listen to the music?
  15. 50
    "Everybody loved him. One woman understood him," goes the ad line. But the movie makes you wonder how anyone could love this screw-up and why anyone would have a problem understanding him.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Ideally, it would give you a sense of an entire people knocking the planet off its axis with a shake of their hips. If only El Cantante were that movie. Instead, it's a curiously sludgy cross between a Doomed Star biopic and a J. Lo vanity project.
  17. 50
    It's whenever the music stops that the movie runs into trouble.
  18. Lopez can't decide if she's playing Lavoe's victim or enabler -- the movie sort of half blames her -- and neither of her characters is likable. The music's lovely, though.
  19. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    A virtual template of every imaginable cliche of the musical biopic, picture suffers from a lack of narrative and character focus
  20. Unfortunately, there's little more than formula in Ichaso's El Cantante.
  21. 40
    Before long, El Cantante disintegrates into a stylized jumble -- even a straightforward jumble would have been preferable.
  22. Reviewed by: Scott Warren
    Ichaso seems far too interested in what led to Lavoe's downfall rather than what made him great.
  23. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    Focusing almost solely on Lavoe's addictions (drugs and women, ho and hum), El Cantante is a garish, dispiriting bit of work--a mountain of biopic clichés snorted through the lens of a fidgety camera that never pauses long enough for us to get to like (or even know) the man responsible for making the Nuyorican sound a mainstream American commodity in the 1970s and early '80s.
  24. The film doesn't make a case for Lavoe as an important artist.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 4 out of 22
  1. IRA
    Oct 30, 2007
    This film is just great. Real not the usual sugered story!
  2. LorenaO.
    Sep 15, 2007
    Loved this moview. They were both great!
    Sep 12, 2007
    This movie was great and i do understand that it was the point of one person (puchi) and that was stated in the begining of the movie, So all This movie was great and i do understand that it was the point of one person (puchi) and that was stated in the begining of the movie, So all of the harsh critics need to relax it was her point of view ,,,, Get over it Marc did a great JOB Full Review »