John Manal Castro

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The Debut Review


OK
This precious little indie gives us the night in the life of 18-year-old Ben Mercado (Dante Basco), who manages to face down his overbearing dad, realize his dream to go to art school, do a little breakdancing, get in a fight, and meet the love of his life -- all while attending his sister's birthday party. With the one-night structure and teen angst everywhere, it feels a little like Dazed and Confused put through the seive of American Adobo.

Unfortunately, Gene Cajayon's English-language flick adds little to the coming of age genre, borrowing liberally from virtually every other film (Stand By Me, Dead Poets Society, Can't Hardly Wait) to come before him. The fact that his characters are from the Phillipines doesn't make the movie unique enough to really thrill you. And unfortunately, The Debut's jokes are almost unilaterally flat -- relying on insidery Filipino gags or ages-old humor that might have worked a decade ago. Or two. Even the DVD's gag reel didn't make me break a smile.

Continue reading: The Debut Review

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