There are many ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. One option is to enjoy the energy of Eva Longoria in Unplugging (2022). Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime, the R-rated film showcases the comic timing and onscreen appeal of this talented Texican (Mexican-American Texan).
Unfortunately, the rest of the movie isn’t as magnetic as Longoria’s presence. The screenplay isn’t funny enough to work as a broad comedy, nor is it smart enough to be a satire. It falls somewhere between romantic comedy and relationship dramedy which is fine, though a little uneven.
Written by Brad Morris and actor Matt (Veep) Walsh, the plot follows a married couple (Walsh and Longoria) who are more connected to the internet than each other. After the death of an acquaintance (Al Madrigal), they decide to take a holiday from their tech-heavy lives in Chicago to unwind in the mountains of Indiana.
As the two wonder whether they can temporarily unplug from their iPhones, viewers may wonder if Indiana has mountains. Perhaps the couple just drove through Indiana to get to Oklahoma where the film was shot by seasoned editor Debra Neil-Fisher in her directorial debut.
Like Marc Lawrence’s amusing rom-com Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009) with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, this fish-out-of-water story has a pair of city slickers interacting with off-the-wall locals (Lea Thompson, Keith David, Nicole Byer) in an off-the-grid setting.
While the theme of disconnecting from digital devices lends itself to humorous situations, Unplugging fails to elaborate on the promising setup. Instead of exploring the nuances of its characters, the 94-minute movie spends time on an anti-climactic subplot about drones.
Still, the modest comedy remains charged by a powerful message and an electric performance by Longoria.