ure filmmaking in “Instructions Not Included,” a sweet, funny and poignant comedy that he directs, co-writes and co-produces. Derbez also stars as Valentín, an Acapulco playboy whose bachelor lifestyle screeches to a halt when one of his tourist lovers shows up on his doorstep with a baby his baby. The movie’s Spanish title translates as “No Returns Accepted,” a much more appropriate description of this story about a daughter no one wants the mother, Julie (Jessica Lindsey), flees, and Valentín follows her to the United States to attempt to return the kid. Six years later, when Valentín has established a lucrative career as a stuntman, and baby Maggie (the perfectly bilingual Loreto Peralta) has grown into a blue-eyed, blond-haired bundle of delight, Julie tracks him down, ready to be a part of her daughter’s life.
Aimed squarely at a Latino audience there’s at least one joke centered on a Mexican song that English-only speakers may not get, despite subtitles “Instructions Not Included” nonetheless speaks to universal themes about love, fear, parenthood and death in the context of a quintessential L.A. story in which immigration is touched on, if not significantly engaged.The performances are stylishly cartoonish, and an aggressive score pushes the script toward melodrama, but there’s a lot of movie here with unexpected developments, held together by the irresistible chemistry between Derbez and his adorable pint-sized co-star.