Cinema: Forget the Alamo

Texas has often been funny. Mexicans have sometimes been good for a laugh. National Guard soldiers can usually provide a chuckle or two. So can militant right-wingers, harassed sheriffs and discombobulated diplomats. Even the Alamo could be funny. But Viva Max, which is about all these things, manages to be funny about none of them.

Not, of course, for lack of trying. A ragtag unit of the Mexican army, led by General Maximilian Rodrigues de Santos (Peter Ustinov) and Sergeant Valdez (John Astin), straggle across the U.S.-Mexican border, looking simultaneously tired and suspicious. General...

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