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The story revolves around Ben Mercado, a talented high school senior who has rejected his Filipino heritage. The long-simmering feud between Ben and his immigrant father Roland threatens to boil over and ruin the 18th birthday party of Ben's sister Rose. But to Ben's surprise, his sister's celebration challenges his sense of misplaced identity, and the way he regards his father and grandfather. In one night, Ben faces the true nature of his relationships with his family, his friends, and himself. Written by
The Good: This is the first step in hopefully many of Filipino-American movies. It showed the culture in a positive light, with the highs and lows of being a Filipino teen growing up in the states and trying to mesh the two cultures together. We get to see the son who is choosing to break tradition of doing exactly what is expected of a son and instead trying to find his own independent path.
The pacing of this movie was also very solid if not a little predictable. The jokes where also a lot of fun, but mostly if you are Filipino, otherwise they may need a little bit of explanation.
The Bad: I did see things as being a bit glossed over in this movie. I don't think I know of any Filipino family where going against the grain gets accepted as easily as this movie did. Every character except Ben Mercado is a very one-dimensional character. There is the (generic) cute pinay, who's friendly and timid, the (generic) hood-rat pinoy and his two lackeys, and the (generic) FOB, who's accent is way over done, I thought he was from Manila, but he sounded like more like an un-educated peasant. I also thought the ball game between Ben and his sister was getting a little too friendly for a sibling game. This movie is also limiting itself to a very hardcore Filipino crowd, rather than maybe trying to aim it towards a broader audience trying to make others understand the `whys' of the Filipino culture. This movie also adapted a little heavily from your standard American Teenie-Bopper flicks, primarily `Somekind of Wonderful' where you have Eric Stoltz deciding to go to art school against his father's wishes.
The Ugly: I understand that this is a small step in showing the culture, but I think a lot of things got denied in this movie, how many younger Filipino parties have we all gone too and ONLY three thugs showed up, they also made it seem like every teen got along with one another and ignored the cliques that are so common during any party. Why did the Auntie with the white husband also have to have the screwed up kid? Why was Ben, the only one with white friends also the only one who chose to go a different path then what his parents wanted? He's also the only one, it seems like, who didn't get the nice ride from the family, instead we see him getting rides from his friends (and if you say he wasn't the only one, take another look at the parking lot scene and give me a ratio count of cars to teens). Why, when the racer bragged about his Integra, did he just get the speech about how everyone is trying to keep down the pinoy, rather than, something more along the lines of just saying he's spoiled and should maybe try and earn his own?
And the Close: Even though my review may not seem like it, I did enjoy the movie, I just have high demands on any movie showing any culture, I believe movies like this should address issues rather than breeze past them just because they are complicated situations. I don't believe a movie should get high praises just because it shows `Pinoy Pride' any movie including this movie, needs depth too. 6/10