The Debut

The Debut

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 13th August 2003

Box Office USA: $1.5M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Production compaines: UNIT Parktech

Reviews 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew



The Debut Review

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.

Cajayon succeeds in drawing good performances from his novice actors, something most indie directors struggle to do and fail. He imbues his film with lots of Filipino soul, but unless you grade The Debut on its merits as a history lesson it's difficult to love. Eat Drink Man Woman and The Joy Luck Club did the "white people are ignorant" story with less obviousness and attached to better stories.

Oh, and sorry to say it, but no matter how you sex it up, you just can't make Filipino food look good on screen.