Saturday, April 10, 2021

Juan Camaney is King of The Taxi Drivers.

Throughout Luis de Alba’s career, he has played many characters that he had created based on stereotypes in Mexico. His most popular & well-known character is “Juan Camaney”. According to Luis himself, Juan Camaney is based on guys Luis would see hanging around Mexico City’s Plaza Garibaldi and other various parts of the city‘s working-class. These guys would have low-paying jobs, try to pick up women around town and tell each other jokes of vulgar nature & ignorance. Luis would often play Juan Camaney on his tv show “El Mundo De Luis De Alba” and after the show had ended, he immortalized this character in the many movies he starred during the 1980’s & 1990’s. The most well-known titles are the Frontera Films productions: Los Verduleros 1 & 2, El Día De Los Albañiles 1 & 2 and Los Gatos De Las Azoteas.

After being exclusive for Frontera Films during the mid-80’s, Luis would go on to star in other studio productions playing all his famous characters (along with others that were created exclusively for him) which of course attracted his devoted fanbase he’s had since the very beginning of his career. Televicine, the giant conglomerate that it was at the time had hired Luis de Alba for a Juan Camaney movie that would be suitable & appealing for a much broader audience and thus El Rey De Los Taxistas (The King of The Taxi Drivers) was made. 

Juan Camaney is a taxi driver who picks up a lot of people to ride them to their destination. Sometimes they’re irritating like a woman with a bunch of bratty kids, a crazy transvestite and there's even a group of criminals with guns. At one point he even picks up The Devil himself (Cesar Bono) whom tips him a $100 USD bill that burns away from his hands after the ride. When Juan Camaney isn’t working, he’s out partying with his goofy friends & his variety of female companions because after all, he has “chavas de a montón”. Juan Camaney having all these ladies also has a wife back home. A beautiful, young & faithful wife named Lorena (Maribel Guardia). Lorena longs for Juan Camaney to treat her better and wants to spend more time with her hubby since she's always home alone and never has any fun outside. Eventually, Lorena begins to take modeling jobs to be away from home & attracts a photographer who wants to be with her. Will Juan Camaney continue his trifling ways & completely ruin his marriage? Or will he manage to change his ways & become a better husband to Lorena?

El Rey De Los Taxistas is an entertaining comedy fit for the entire family. It never gets extremely vulgar and for sure has no nudity whatsoever. This is the Juan Camaney movie you can watch with your kids and grandparents on a dull Thanksgiving evening. Luis de Alba is very funny in the movie of course and while he plays the most awful husband ever, you can’t help but still like this crazy fuckin' man. He knows how to have a good time and when working & facing some sort of conflict, he still manages to pull through. The ever so gorgeous Maribel Guardia wonderfully plays a neglected spouse who has a lust for life and takes a chance of getting it by walking out of her bubble. It’s funny because this sub-plot of hers sort of reminds me of the one from Terror Y Encajes Negros. Neglected housewife + shitty husband + photographer male companion. Weirdly coincidental I suppose or maybe even intended since that movie was so popular & its Maribel’s most well-known role.

Aside from its cast & plot; I was fond of the people behind the making of the movie. Luis de Alba came up with the story for El Rey De Los Taxistas but had the help of screenwriter Armando Ramirez who wrote “Ratero” & “Chin Chin El Teporocho” and both those movies have a huge urban city setting & plot and that of course is exactly how El Rey De Los Taxistas is. The movie was directed by Benito Alazraki and he has quite the extensive filmography that dates back to the 1950’s-1960’s with awesome titles such as “Espiritismo”, “Muñecos Infernales”, “Tin Tan Y Las Modelos” and “Santo Contra Los Zombies”. Benito worked on all kinds of movies and many of them were very successful & good. Here with El Rey De Los Taxistas, he did an amazing job with making the movie intriguing & humorous. 

El Rey De Los Taxistas is a must see if you’re a fan of Luis de Alba & his most famous persona/character Juan Camaney. While the humor & tone differs from his more favorited movies; it’s still very enjoyable & charming. Juan Camaney here might not be undressing a woman in front of the screen & talking lots of shit, but he’s still just as funny & ridiculous. He’s still chewing gum, hitting hard and has many ladies in line for him. Juan Camaney forever!