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Most ‘wholesome’ film to date

By: Mario E. Bautista
People's Journal
August 04, 2009 05:45 PM Tuesday

Manila Bulletin
August 12, 2009, 12:18pm

WE'VE seen a lot of gay themed films about teen boys and their first loves ("Maximo Oliveros", "Dose")oppressed masseurs ("Masahista", "Heavenly Touch"), etc. but "Little Boy, Big Boy" is very different from past gay flicks, even from the previous films of its director, Jay Altarejos, known for such pink films as "Lalaki sa Parola", "Antonio" and "Kambyo". Comparatively speaking, this is his most "wholesome" films to date. It's a love story about two yuppies (a graphic artist and a bank employee) who just happen to be both boys. So boy meets boy, boy gets boy, boy loses boy, but there's a hint of reconciliation in the final frame. Told within their story is the puppy love between a little boy and a little girl that is also charmingly developed.

The central characters are Raymond (Paolo Rivero) and Tim (Douglas Robinson). They meet in a gay orgy hosted by Lex Bonife (also the film's scriptwriter) and Raymond takes Tim home. It so happens that Raymond's sister, a single mom, is going to Hong Kong to meet a new boyfriend and leaves him her son, Zach (Renz Valerio). Raymond is very open to Zach about his being gay and the boy accepts it matter of factly, even the sight of his uncle sleeping in bed with Tim.

Zach quickly warms up to Tim, a very caring person who cooks spaghetti for him and teaches him how to play basketball. Since he grew up without a dad, Zach considers Raymond and Tim as his two fathers. He meets a neighbor, Jill (Sophia Baars), who invites him to her birthday party. They become friends and Zach later claims Jill to be his girlfriend, to which she agrees.

But like most gay relationships, the one of Raymond and Tim is soon rocked by jealousy. Tim wants an exclusive relationship but Raymond can't help but flirt with other gays on the net and on his cellphone. Tim says he has lost his trust and decides to leave Raymond. Meantime, Zach's mom returns and it's also time for him to leave Jill. Raymond is left alone once again in his apartment. He asks forgiveness from Tim through the internet and it seems like Tim has a favorable response.

The movie is different from most gay flicks as it changes the usual portrayal of gays on screen as swishy faggots. The gay men here are both straight acting, the kind who are buff and called macho gays. Paolo Rivero is the busiest actor today in gay flicks. His performance here is better than in any of his past ones like "Daybreak" and "Heavenly Touch" (where he's an out and out gay). He's complimented by Douglas Robinson as the more sensitive Tim with his very expressive pair of eyes, even if his Visayan accent often gets on the way of his delivering a more effective portrayal. Gay viewers won't be disappointed as they're featured in two hot love scenes.

But the most splendid performance actually comes from Renz Valerio as the little boy who really looks so pure and innocent, a primary requirement of the role that he superbly fulfills, despite the fact that he has a slutty mom who flirts from one boyfriend to another. He's a natural in all his scenes. Sophia Baars, Ruffa Gutierrez's precocious daughter in "Desperadas 1 and 2", also does well as Jill. "Little Boy, Big Boy" opens in Robinsons Galleria, Ermita, Bacolod, Iloilo and Cinema Cebu tomorrow, August 5.

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