Finally Michael Pena in a lead movie role…yes! If it isn’t clear, Pena happens to be one of my favorite underrated actors. When I watched the trailer for Cesar Chavez, there was a huge smile on my face seeing Pena as the lead. I couldn’t wait for the release. The name Chavez sounds familiar to me, but I can’t say I know anything about him, but I was looking forward to see what Pena would do with this role.
Well…for the most part I was satisfied with the performances. Pena was decent as Chavez, although his performance in some of the later scenes were a little shaky, namely the fasting scenes. He wasn’t as great as I had hoped, and I’ve seen him with better performance. However I loved America Ferrera as his wife. She was a great fit for this character. Rosario Dawson isn’t one of my favorite actresses, but this was the first time I felt like she was more natural and relaxed, and I enjoyed this role for her. Unfortunately the performances were the highlight, because the story was a little dull and seemed a bit rushed. I felt like I needed more back story in the opening scenes. The first 15min felt very rushed. Chavez had a job where he worked in an office? Doing what again? Did I miss a huge part of that story? The scenes following were interesting enough, but quickly plateaued and fell flat. Thank goodness for John Malkovich who with his small role, outperformed everybody.
The movie was ok at best. I think they could have done a better job with the writing and directing of scenes for this movie to give it a stronger impact. It didn’t pull at my emotions, which is what I was looking for. By the end of the film, I felt like the story wasn’t strong enough to make into a movie production…B-