‘Acapulco’ Review: Apple TV’s Bilingual Comedy Is a Charmer


When wide-eyed, ambitious Maximo (Enrique Arrizon) looks at the gleaming pink hotel that’s overlooked Acapulco his entire life, he sees opportunities and riches he can’t get anywhere else in his town circa 1984. He sees a way out of poverty, a chance to dream, an escape from the mundane. When his mother (Vanessa Bauche) looks at Las Colinas, however, she sees not just a den of sin, but a nest of sirens that will lure her children away for the superficial glory of serving white tourists who will forget their waitstaff the moment they fall out of view.

In “Acapulco,” a new Apple TV Plus comedy from Austin Winsberg, Eduardo Cisneros and Jason Shuman, the truth lies somewhere in between. As a Las Colinas pool boy, Maximo’s natural instincts and charm quickly make him a hotel staple, which helps him towards his goal of funding his mother’s eye surgery. But the series is also careful to point out how much every moment of indignity — and the hotel’s insistence that “what the guest wants, the guest gets” — costs him and every other employee, day in and day out. One of the most obvious examples of this is how the series bobs and weaves between English and Spanish, which is immediately one of its most realistic and smartest attributes. Whenever native Spanish speakers are together, they speak in Spanish as they obviously would in real life. Whenever they’re at the hotel in front of their white guests and bosses, however, they’re forbidden from speaking Spanish and must speak in English. This immediate drawing of lines between staff and guests, “us” and “them,” is a key distinction for the series overall.

Watching “Acapulco,” I ended up thinking about “White Lotus,” the recent HBO smash that takes place at a Hawaiian resort and splits its time between wealthy white guests and the staff who serve them. Both “Acapulco” and “White Lotus” are very good at slipping in moments of oblivious rich tourist privilege that cut like a knife, but unlike “White Lotus,” “Acapulco” is almost entirely unconcerned about who those tourists are. Aside from hotel owner Diane (Jessica Collins) and her himbo son Chad (Chord Overstreet),…

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