This surprisingly funny, earnest adaptation of the beloved bilingual kids' show features an unwaveringly positive teen version of Dora. Although it's unclear precisely to which audience this movie will appeal -- fellow teens nostalgic for the Nickelodeon series they grew up watching? younger fans curious to see an aged-up protagonist? -- one thing is immediately obvious: It's incredibly well cast. Peruvian American Moner doesn't just look like Dora with her large, expressive brown eyes and signature bangs; she nails the precocious, generous, and inquisitive young explorer's personality. And Longoria and Peña are caring and comedic as Dora's parents, who, like all parents with older teens, have ambivalent feelings about their little girl growing up.
The supporting roles include some big-name Latinx actors, including slapstick master Derbez, who's also a producer; Mexican superstar Adriana Barraza as Dora's abuelita; Benicio Del Toro as the voice of Swiper the thieving fox, and, in a single hilarious cameo, Danny Trejo as none other than the otherwise squeaky-voiced Boots. Wahlberg (Mark's nephew), whose mother is Dominican, is promising as cousin Diego. But some of the movie's jokes are overly predictable, there's an unnecessary (but super low-key) romantic subplot, and the relationship between Dora, Diego, and their two classmates isn't as compelling as, say, the one between the teens in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Still, the Australian forest doubles nicely for the Amazonian rainforest, and the action sequences are just perilous enough to be tween friendly without being too scary. It's always clear that Dora and her pals will be able to proverbially yell "We did it! Hooray!" at the end. Watch through the credits for a cute bonus number featuring Moner, who gets to show off her musical theater skills.