Apr 21, 2013

[Movies] Little Boy Big Boy (2009)

It has been a while since I saw down to watch an LGBT movie, what more a local one. But I was in need of content to post for today and so I dug into my archives and randomly pulled up Little Boy Big Boy from the directory.

Given the poster image, I sort of hoped that the element of a kid in the story might make it a more sensible movie compared to most of the smut flicks we release. However that wasn't the case and I think I was subjected to more bad depictions of gay sex here than in some other films that tried to be a lot less pretentious about their overall goals.

The movie clearly had something that it wanted to say, but I don't think it was able to express itself efficiently or effectively. The end result is a movie that tried to juggle two main plot ideas but never really knows how to marriage or even balance things to any degree. Instead it's another senseless skin flick that seems even worse than some others because they dragged a kid into the mix of things. And that never really helps things along.

Synopsis: Little Boy Big Boy is partly a bad comedy but predominantly a drama. It was directed by Joselito Altarejos, who had also directed Ang Lihim ni Antonio with a story by Lex Bonife.

We are first introduced to Raymund (Paolo Rivero) - a graphic artist who is described as being "carefree" in all of the press material for this movie. And this is because he's rather promiscuous in terms of the gay scene given his preference for strictly casual encounters and quite a lot of orgies. But things change eventually because of two key events. One is involves his nephew, Zack (Renz Valerio), who has to stay with Raymund because his mother will be meeting her boyfriend in Hong Kong. The other is Tim (Douglas Robinson), whom Raymund encounters in an orgy and starts to feel a connection to.

In time, Raymund progresses on both fronts. Him and Zack continue to bond and build a better familial relationship while Raymund and Tim also get closer and closer and eventually become partners. But they set up a series of rules including the need to be perfectly honest about their relationship status with everyone and of course the need for fidelity within the context of this relationship. But over time the cracks start form in their tenuous relationship as Raymund finds old habits hard to quit entirely.

The movie has a lot of gay sex going on. And it's not even artist, mood-inspiring gay sex but just really cruddy gay sex. And it feels even weirder given how Raymund's orgies seem to include an orgy coordinator who facilitates ice breaker games and other weird things of that nature. Campy one moment, then it's back to silly shadowy scenes and gay sex positions that don't really happen unless you're consistently hiding your privates from the camera.

The relationship between Raymund and Tim is superficial at best and the eventual problems that they experience are as trope-y as corny can be. So we get it, Raymund liked the guy enough to take him home. And then suddenly they're meant to be boyfriends? Maybe if we cut down on the hammy sex scenes a bit more, we could have included more character development to explain why these two were such a good match for one another.

Then we have Zack and his role in things. There were the expected moments of him walking in on a hook-up and things like that but then his curiosity could only function in service of the plot, thus making his character seem a tad inconsistent. But he probably acted better than everyone else in this movie. Rivero and Robinson were both struggling with their predominantly English lines and so it felt like their words were clearly not their own. And that just took away from the intended drama of the various scenes and made their arguments even more petty.

The movie resorts to the semi-classic indie flick ending of the uncertain future. There's just enough hope for things to move forward, but at the same how can we be expected to root for anyone? Is there enough of the characters to want to emotionally invest in their plight? Or are we actually looking forward to the sex scenes as a form of comic relief?

Little Boy Big Boy wants to be this big piece about a gay man's journey to grow up emotionally and better understand relationships. But in the end it's really just a bad plot designed to string together some rather unimaginative queer sex scenes. Thus the movie can only really get 1 case of Zack trying to be cute and precocious. out of a possible 5.

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