‘Acapulco’ Season 1 Review: Apple’s Latin-Flaired Feel Good Comedy

Apple TV+ knows its strengths, focusing on the science fiction, comedy, and drama sections on its home page. Ted Lasso has noticeably been a huge hit, and seeing Apple TV+ lean into some of the funniest actors of our day has been a boon for them. Acapulco is the latest success for the streamer. It’s the story of a young man, Máximo Gallardo (played by Eugenio Derbez and Enrique Arrizon), who thinks his wish has been granted in life when he gets a job at a hot resort named Los Colinas. But as with all good stories, things are not exactly as they seem to be. Based in and on the resorts of the beautiful coastal Mexican city that the series is named after, season one of Acapulco balances love, humor, acceptance, and so much more. 

Eugenio Derbez and Raphael Alejandro in Acapulco Season 1
Eugenio Derbez and Raphael Alejandro in Acapulco – Season 1. Image courtesy of Apple TV+.

Acapulco finds its strengths within the cast

I’ve been so delighted to see Eugenio Derbez lead another series, growing up with him pervading Mexican culture on various series (many of them being his creations). I’ve always seen him as THE funniest Latin American actor, with his international acclaim fully deserved. Now, he gets his due as he revives and twists Máximo Gallardo’s backstory through  Acapulco

Eugenio Derbez is one of the main draws, having made his way into American audiences with CODA and How To Be A Latin Lover. He’s the narrator, sometimes wildly unreliable yet hilarious, of his rags-to-riches story. There are so many other fantastic actors involved in this series, young and old. Damian Alcazar as Don Pablo is exceptional in every scene and episode, providing young Maximo (Enrique Arrazon) with much-needed direction in doing his best for the resort, Las Colinas. Maximo’s most connected companion in the resort is his long-time best friend, Memo (Fernando Carsa). 

Jessica Collins is Diane Davies, the owner of Las Colinas, former daytime television star and fitness tape extraordinaire. Joining her is her son Chad Davies, played by Chord Overstreet, the resort’s General Manager. Both of these Americans provide two varying angles of the sentiments shared by the local Mexican population. Chad has the fish out of water viewpoint of a tourist who is afraid to step foot outside of the safeties of the resort. Diane is a shrewd businesswoman who operates strictly on what works best only for herself and her reputation. 

Chord Overstreet and Camila Perez in Acapulco Season 1
Chord Overstreet and Camila Perez in Acapulco – Season 1. Image courtesy of Apple TV+.

There’s a whole host of impeccable staff in all hospitality departments. Young Maximo’s love interest is the beautiful front desk receptionist Julia Gonzalez (Camila Perez), who happens to already be in a relationship with Chad. Rafael Cebrián is the arrogant and capable head pool boy Hector who goes out of his way to complicate Maximo’s life. Regina Orozco is Lupe, Memo’s supervisor and chief of laundry, tenured over time into a comfortable and lazy position. Perhaps my favorite is bartender Beto (Lobo Elias) who acts as if he knows every single celebrity on a first-name basis. When he’s not at Las Colinas, Máximo has his religiously principled mother Nora (Vanessa Bauche) and rebellious younger sister Sara (Regina Reynoso) to contend with about his job. Derbez’s current day Maximo is narrating his life story to his nephew and the son of Sara, Hugo (Raphael Alejandro).

Las Colinas is an exquisite location and setting

Las Colinas has everything that a dreamy resort should include: an amazing poolside with comfy cabanas and a beautiful beach backdrop. The dazzling pink-painted walls are a sight to behold and delight the eyes with the equally complementing blue pool. Aside from the laundry rooms and service areas for the employees, every part of the resort has the color to match the vibrancy of joy that captivates its numerous guests. 

It’s not just the gorgeous views of the ocean or the bright interiors that make Las Colinas so appealing; it’s the hope of a more prosperous life for the locals. It’s a brilliant image that contrasts what Nora believes it to be: a place of sin and temptation. She’s not entirely wrong as Máximo is quested with tracking down cannabis for his first promising guests. “The guest gets what the guest wants.” is repeated by Don Pablo, and that carries so much weight for the staff and Maximo as we learn over time. 

Damián Alcázar in Acalpulco - Season 1 copy
Damián Alcázar in Acapulco – Season 1 copy

Prospects are aplenty for everyone

Some of the leverage that Acapulco has is that you root for every person on screen, it’s impossible to feel as if anyone could or should fail. Hector may give Máximo a hard time and try to take advantage of his inexperience, but Hector ensures Máximo’s willingness to prove himself. Don Pablo is often only a few feet away with the correct advice for Maximo to succeed, and Diane almost instantly recognizes Máximo’s potential for the resort. 

Nora and Sara are also provided opportunities of their own while Máximo is away at work. Sara realizes she has feelings for her best friend Gabriela (Samantha Orozco), actually named Roberta, which we discover in another unreliable narrator mix-up situation towards the end of the season. Although apprehensive, Esteban (Carlos Corona), the local handyman, eventually decides to move towards Nora. Esteban may be the most endearing and relatable character of them all, one that you’ll cheer for every moment you see him.

Final thoughts on the first season of Acapulco

There’s so much to love in this series, whether it’s the Spanish renditions of 80s radio hits or Memo’s escapades in avoiding Lupe’s wrath. The episode titles also contain the names of more popular songs and reflect the plot contents without giving anything away. Blending Spanish when necessary drives the more important beats of the story and still allows for the more tender moments to have higher emotional delivery. Going back and forth between the past and present usually ends with a smile and sometimes tears. Derbez and his character, Máximo, really know how to tell a story that keeps you holding on, making the first season a prime candidate for binge-watching.

Season 1 of Acapulco is now streaming in full on Apple TV+.

Season 2 of the show, plus new episodes from Season 3 as of May 1st, are also available to stream. Learn more about the show at the official website.

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