Looking past the frequently rudimentary filmmaking and the rather stale plot of Americanized kids struggling against the old world values of their immigrant parents, "The Debut" has at its heart a strong cast of actors giving their all to earn a resounding ring of truth with the movie's target audience.
The story of a Filipino-American teenager determined to go to art school despite his father's insistence that he become a doctor, the movie touches on many of the conflicts such minorities face in sometimes hermetic ethnic social circles.
Ben Mercado (Danté Basco) clashes constantly with his hard-headed father (Tirso Cruz III), who demands, accusingly, "What the hell are you going to do with a degree in cartoons?" Dad has never stopped to consider his son's talent -- which the movie implies Ben has a lot of, although it's not until the last scene in the movie that we see any of his work.
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