“A Change of Heart”

Meet Hank

Amos Lassen

Jim Belushi is Hank, a frustrated man who is fearful of diversity. He realizes that his Central Florida town is adhering less and less to the white, straight profile with which he’s comfortable. Then after suffering a heart attack, Hank’s life is saved by a transplant — from a Puerto Rican drag queen. Soon, Belushi is taking new steps in a new direction.

“This is a story about acceptance and learning about one’s true self, and Jim Belushi did an amazing job,” said producer Emilio Estefan. “There is a lot of Latino humor, and the message completely resonates with what is going on in our country right now. The timing for this film couldn’t be better.” However, I have to disagree with the film resonating with our country. It is not funny and quite simply is one of the worst films I have ever seen. It is dated and it stereotypes Miami’s LGBT community which is filled with homophobia.

Hank who had to retire from the Fire Service because of his weak heart. He runs his own bug-spraying business in Florida and cares little about his house and his marriage both of which have gone to seed. In fact, his wife, Deena (Virginia Madsen)  is leaving him and moving out.  Hank refuses to accept the fact that his youngest daughter Josie (Aimee Teegarden) is gay and has a girlfriend Teddy (Cody Horn). He also cannot accept that his oldest daughter, Laurie (Dawn Olivieri) has a new Cuban boyfriend, Carlos (William Levy) and that he really wants to marry her. We get quite a barrage of homophobic and racist jokes.

It then happens that Hank has a heart attack on the same night a young gay Latino hairdresser dies and everyone assumes that he is the donor of the new heart that Hank gets there and then. When Hank cannot perform when he seduces the voluptuous Ruthie (Kathy Najimy) and then he finds himself getting his hair streaked and liking everything that is remotely “gay”.  Now this former burly beer-swigging slob who was addicted to fried food begins wearing drag to wow the crowds by performing at the local gay club, and coming home to cook the latest food fashion.

As he struggles to accept his new persona, the Hospital then tells him that he received the heart of a heterosexual Japanese sushi chef, and he is not ‘gay’ after all!  This explains why he can make sushi out of the blue.

The movie was filmed in 2014 and has just been released which is a pity for all involved. The story plays with stereotypes as it tries to make this mess plot convincing. It patronizes both the LGBT and the Latino communities in such a clumsy manner that makes it a total insult to anyone with a mind.

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