The Debut | Chicago Reader

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A hackneyed coming-of-age drama about a gawky Filipino-American teenager in suburban California (Dante Basco) chafing at his father's command that he study medicine. First-time director Gene Cajayon spices up the proceedings with Filipino dance and music, and his insights into the dynamics and pastimes of the tight-knit ethnic community are noteworthy. But his script, cowritten with John Manal Castro, milks the usual teen-rebel conventions dry, and except for Basco's performance as the inarticulate hero, the acting is fairly wooden. 89 min.

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