American Adobo Movie Review

The filmmaking feast continues on the big screen with American Adobo, the latest munching melodrama to incorporate the mysticism of ethnic food with fragile personalities and their fluctuating emotions. Following the tradition of cinematic entrees such as Eat Drink Man Woman, Tortilla Soup, ABCD, and What's Cooking?, American Adobo tries to add some spice to its quirky sentiments but the taste is all too familiar.

In the film, we are introduced to the topsy-turvy lives of New York-based Filipino-American friends and their head-scratching predicaments. The group gathers around their tasty native dishes and regularly discusses issues like friendship, romance, etc. The food in question--known as adobo--is as provocative and involving as the characters. Marissa (Dina Bonnevie) is the ambitious working girl that seemingly has everything at her disposal but unfortunately gets saddled down with a cheating boyfriend named Sam (Randy Becker), who has a roving eye. Good-natured Tere (Cherry Pie Pichache) is in dire need of companionship, but she diligently handles things around the kitchen. Hotshot hunk Raul (Paolo Montalban) is the resident ladies' man. Mike (Christopher De Leon) is bogged down in domestic turmoil, and fantasizes about returning to the Philippines to escape the madness of family life. And Gerry (Ricky Davao) is a closeted gay who valiantly tries to hide his sexual orientation from his mother and her traditional ways.

Although the characters are spunky and intriguing at times, the film feels as if it's going through sensationalistic motions to justify the contrived hoopla of the hectic screenplay. Director Laurice Guillen is at her best when she lets chaos rule, but as the dilemmas pile up, the film disintegrates into a hysterical, haggard romp. See Marissa in all her desperation try to hang on to a no-good Sam. See Raul deal with his possible contracting of AIDS. See Tere commit accidental arson in her own kitchen, only to discover love in the arms of a heroic fireman. And so on.

Guillen uses all the tricks in the book to try to hook you into loving American Adobo's quirky players. But corny scenes consisting of last minute deathbed discussions or sitcom-induced antics that revolve around intercepting incriminating gay-themed photos in the mail just don't do the trick.

The old adobo-out-the-nose trick.

Comments

American Adobo Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 2000

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