The Debut (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Debut (2000)

The Debut (2000)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Ben Mercado is a talented high school senior who enrolls in a prestigious art school in order to realize his dreams of becoming an animator. However, his plans come into conflict with those of his immigrant father Roland, a postal worker intent on seeing Ben become a doctor. Their long-simmering feud (for Ben a struggle to fit into American life and reject his Filipino heritage; and for Roland, a quest to give his children a better life than he had) threatens to boil over and ruin the elaborate 18th birthday party of Ben's sister Rose. However, it is at the party where everything starts to change for Ben - his sense of misplaced identity, his choice of friends, even the way he regards his father. Most importantly, he finds a confidante (and perhaps a love interest) in Rose's best friend Annabelle. However, Ben isn't out of the woods by any means. The arrival of the Mercado family's browbeating patriarch exacerbates the tensions between father and son, while the prospect of ditching the relatives to "make it" with a blonde-haired lasse at a kegger across town tugs at Ben throughout the evening. Worse, his budding romance with Annabelle is complicated by the presence at Rose's party of hot-headed Augusto, a former boyhood friend-turned gangsta wannabe and Annabelle's ex. With all these factors tearing at Ben, something (or someone) is bound to explode at Rose's party ...

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Cast

Dante Basco
as Ben Mercado
Eddie Garcia
as Lolo Carlos
Tirso Cruz III
as Roland Mercado
Darion Basco
as Augusto
Derek Basco
as Edwin Mercado
Bernadette Balagtas
as Rose Mercado
Joy Bisco
as Annabell
Dion Basco
as Rommel
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Critic Reviews for The Debut

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (11)

Director Gene Cajayon, with co-writer John Manal Castro and a charming cast, continually subverts expectations.

November 15, 2002 | Full Review…
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Mostly the situations, albeit compressed, ring true; the characters are admirably multi-dimensional, and there are welcome doses of humor that compensate for any contrivances.

November 15, 2002
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

An earnest and predictable little indie.

October 18, 2002 | Rating: 2/4
New York Post
Top Critic

A neat blend of well-drawn major characters and drama, music, dance, romance and humor that generates considerable charm and achieves a heartwarming resolution of its generational conflict.

October 17, 2002 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

The film has a sweet low-budget quality that sometimes slips into TV-movie schmaltz.

October 15, 2002 | Full Review…
Village Voice
Top Critic

Celebrates community and family, and does so in such a warm-hearted way that its formulaic nature is easily forgiven.

August 16, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4
Seattle Times
Top Critic

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