“Hey ladies and gentlemen, the show is right this way.” No, this is not the opening to THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. Instead, it’s the opening to LMM (Lin-Manuel Miranda) latest musical, VIVO. While this movie has some plot issues, you can’t help falling in love with the poignant kid-friendly message, “it’s never too late to tell someone you love them.”
You can tell that LMM “has spent his life making music.” Despite the songs sounding like a mash-up of IN THE HEIGHTS and MOANA, they are instantly singable. From “One of a Kind,” “One More Song,” and “Inside Your Heart,” the songs will be the first thing you remember from VIVO.
Yet, the movie has a lot more going for it. The Cuban narrative representation takes audiences into a world they more than likely do not know much about, and it’s rewarding. I could imagine audiences salsa/rumba dancing down the aisles if this movie played in theatres. But, instead, I happily settled for the family dancing around the living room.
While the a-story of Vivo’s journey to Miami and the friendships he makes are animation gold, the same cannot be said for the b-story. VIVO takes a weird left turn into the everglades, where it introduces annoying characters and a heightened sense of unnecessary danger. As the protagonists do their best to “bounce to the beat of their own drum,” it leaves audiences mixed due to this unwanted plot detour.
Long after the credits play in VIVO, I found myself forgiving the movie for its flaws and wanting just “One More Song” from LMM.