Despite its extraordinary cast (essentially every Latino actor in Hollywood not already employed on Ugly Betty), Cane fails to be anything more than a soapy mess. It’s all style and no substance, a mishmash of tired plot devices and one-dimensional character archetypes glutted with cultural cliches.
It’s essentially a retread of Falcon Crest populated by Cuban-Americans, which, despite being two decades behind the television curve, might be fun if it had even a dash of that show’s campy flavor. But the overwhelmingly ponderous tone of Cane (they’re obviously—and futilely—straining to be The Sopranos) sucks all the energy out of the room. Without any real dramatic weight beneath the shiny surface, there’s little for the all-star cast to do but chew scenery and frown meaningfully into their mojitos.
It’s a shame that there are so few meaty roles for Latino actors on television that heavyweights like Hector Elizondo, Rita Moreno and Jimmy Smits can be lured to such pedestrian fare. Hopefully CBS will put this show out of its misery soon so the cast can move on to projects worthy of their considerable talents.