Roasted

Watching Litsonero was like watching a long Knorr cube commercial with a story.

I'm back from the island: happy, relaxed, and tanned like a fine lechon. To get into the spirit of things, I hopped into a cab on a hot Malate afternoon and headed to Robinson's Ermita, where Litsonero the new film of Lore Reyes was playing.

Paolo Contis plays Fidel, a Filipino chef-in-training working in Macau who comes home to the probinsya to commemorate his father's death anniversary. There he has to contend with his domineering mother (Maricel Laxa, who is too young and beautiful to play the mother of someone in his twenties), his alcoholic wife-abusing uncle (Michael de Mesa), his thuggy older brother, and his slutty little sister. One night he makes an usapang lasing bet (never make usapang lasing bets!) with his sloshed uncle who dares Fidel to make a lechon for the death anniversary.

Isn't it precious that Filipinos like to serve a roast pig for someone's death anniversary? Bongga di ba? My geezer punk crush Anthony Bourdain gave the Philippines (specifically the slow roasted Cebu lechon) the Number One spot in his Hierarchy of Pork. We're like our pork, that's for sure.

In the movie, Fidel goes to the local listonero, endearingly played by Jun "Mr. Shooli" Urbano to learn some lessons about life and lechon. Of course there's a pretty granddaughter (Karylle) whose is docile, ornamental, and hopelessly boring. But because she's pretty and our hero Fidel needs a romantic interest, they fall in love. Or something to that effect. It's strange because they don't really speak to each other and one day they have a romantic picnic eating monay and drinking wine which apparently indicates that they are in love.

I can see how this film could have been a charming little tale about life and love using food as metaphor (thus the semi-okay cooking shots–gisa shots, endless cooking montages). Sure. Why not? That could work, right?

In an ideal world, Fidel would not have to leave his country as an overseas worker to pay for his father's debts; his drunkard uncle would not have to treat his wife badly; his fifteen-year-old sister would not get pregnant in the woods with her dorky boyfriend; his girlfriend would kiss him back; and making lechon would be a less tedious process. In an ideal world it would also be less tedious to watch this movie. It was like a long Knorr cube commercial with a story.

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Alas.

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