18 May 2008 | MartinHafer
Wow,...for once I am the only one who LIKED a movie!!
This movie centers on a group of Philippine-Americans who meet for dinner (adobo-style cooking). Each in the group is having relationship problems and the film follows them as they each come to a turning point in their love lives.
I have reviewed something like a bazillion movies on IMDb and I noticed a long time ago that I tend to rate films a little harsher than average. Because of this, I tend to get much more than my fair share of "not helpful" votes. Despite this, I continue being a somewhat harsh critic since I don't review films to make friends. However, this film is a rare case where all the reviews are far harsher and the overall rating far lower than I'd give the film. It makes me start to wonder if I was wrong in liking this film....well, no it doesn't.
Now I could understand someone not liking this movie for a few reasons. First, this movie starts off very slowly and it's hard to like it during the first half hour or so. Heck, I considered turning it off--mostly because so many of the characters are unlikable and this is a SERIOUS problem for this style of film. Second, there is an awful lot of nudity, very strong language and adult content--again, some of this (particularly the language) seemed inappropriate for this type of movie.
When I say "this type of movie", I mean an ethnic slice of life film--much like EAT, DRINK, MAN, WOMAN or DOUBLE HAPPINESS or BOLLYWOOD/Hollywood. The sort of movies that may make excellent date films or family films. However, I really couldn't see showing this to my kids even though they are teens--it's just got too many boobs and the dreaded F-word by the scores.
Now if you can look past the harshness of the film, it does get a lot better and fortunately some of the less likable characters do improve as the film continues. However, I do agree with one of the reviews that felt a couple of the better subplots alone might have made a better film. The story of the spinster and the gay man were very compelling and touching. The rest, unfortunately, are harder to enjoy since the characters are pretty selfish.
However, I am a sucker for films like this because they emphasize story and people. Now I can't accurately know what the Filipino experience is like--so how close they actually got to realistic characters is a bit of a mystery to me. But I liked the writing and story and for the life of me I cannot understand why it's rated THAT low. Oh well, to each his or her own.