Aspirations That Go Beyond Gangsterism

Published: October 10, 2008

Some rappers have shown themselves to be adept actors as well, and now Daddy Yankee, a big star in the related musical genre of reggaetón, takes his big-screen shot in “Talento de Barrio.” Unfortunately, any acting skills he might have — and it looks as if he might well have some — are powerless against the thudding cliché of a script he is saddled with.

Daddy Yankee plays Edgar, a thug who runs the drug business in a ragged slum of Puerto Rico and — well, is there any need to go on?

He has a loving mother, he is protective of his sister, and he has aspirations that go beyond gangsterism: to be a reggaetón star, of course. But his criminal life has a gravitational pull that keeps sucking him back in. The violence-laden story, such as it is, is ineptly stitched together; it’s unclear who is shooting at whom and why; and the dialogue seldom advances beyond “Yo, dog” and “Whassup?” The soundtrack is the only draw here.

“Talento de Barrio” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) for violence and language.


Opens on Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

Directed by José Iván Santiago; written by George Rivera and Angel Sanjurjo; director of photography, Leslie J. Colombani Jr.; edited by Mariem Pérez; music by Samuel López; art director, Pascual Febus; produced by Mr. Rivera; released by Maya Releasing. In Spanish and English, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes.

WITH: Daddy Yankee (Edgar Dinero), Ángel Rodríguez (Jaico), César Farrait (Wichy), Eddie Ávila (Jay), Katiria Soto (Soribel), Glorimar Montalvo (Tata) and Angélica Alcaide (Natasha).