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Walk on the Flip Side 

A hilarious comedy about life with a Filipino-American family is a low-budget sleeper

Normally the opening of a 20-screen multiplex, otherwise known as a cell phone-ringing graveyard for the humdrum Hollywood buddy picture, is no cause for celebration. But this Century 20 is located in Daly City, home to the largest concentration of Filipinos outside of Manila. The cinema complex celebrates its grand opening with fund-raising screenings, live bands, and the premiere of the Sundance-selected The Flip Side, Filipino-American Rod Pulido's hilarious comedy.

College student Darius Delacruz, fresh from courses in Filipino-American identity, is dismayed to find that even the lure of Spam won't coax his depressed Lolo (Grandpa) out of his bedroom, where his only thrill is listening to the winning Lotto numbers droned over the radio. Meanwhile Darius' sister Marivic is saving up for a nose job and telling her white boyfriend that she's Hawaiian to avoid admitting to her Filipina heritage. High school brother Davis has got his own issues: Talking in hip hop patois, Davis literally hangs from a beam in the vain attempt to stretch himself to the 5-foot-7 height of pro basketball player Spud Webb, who has achieved the slam-dunks Davis can only dream about. Newly awakened to Filipino-American self-hatred, Darius has his summer vacation work cut out for him: three makeover projects right in his own home.

Will The Flip Side duplicate the surprise success of another recent Filipino-American film, The Debut? Well, it's funnier and doesn't have dancing in it (if you don't count Darius' loincloth ritual), and it has a surprise ending that's more satisfying than The Debut's. So despite its lower budget, it may do even better business. -- Frako Loden


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