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Raising Victor Vargas

so...raised yet?

R

Victor Rasuk, Judy Marte, Melonie Diaz, Altagracia Guzman, Silvestre Rasuk, Krystal Rodriguez

Victor: You know I made these, right?
Judy: mhmm…
Victor: You don’t believe me?  Ma, right, I made these?
Grandma: To make you feel good…let’s say yes.

In his neighborhood, Victor (Rasuk) is known as a sort of ladies man.  That is, until he’s caught with a girl nicknamed Fat Donna, and his reputation is sullied.  In order to prove himself to his friends, he hits on a beautiful girl at a community pool and is rejected.  He’s persistent though, and eventually they begin spending time together.  Meanwhile, Victor must deal with a sister who seems to hate him, a brother who worships him, and a grandmother who thinks Victor is being a bad influence on his younger siblings.

I liked this one.  Didn’t love it, but it has a certain charm to it.  Victor is a little annoying at times, but his personality is a sort of barrier he puts up in order to stay afloat in the far-from-affluent neighborhood they live in.  It’s interesting to see the barrier slowly crumble as he realizes how much he likes Judy (Marte).  Of course, she has a barrier too.  She’s sick of being hit on by obnoxious, vulgar guys on every street corner (and we get a hilarious example of that), so she always tells guys that she already has a man.  She initially uses her friendship with Victor as another way to brush off guys.  She doesn’t have to invent a boyfriend, she can just say Victor is her man.

Most of the performances here were good and had a natural feel to them, but I especially liked the scenes with Judy Marte and Melonie Diaz.  They worked well together.  In fact, I think Melonie Diaz might have been my favorite thing about the movie.  I couldn’t remember where I’d seen her before, but now I know it was Be Kind Rewind.  Yeah, she was my favorite thing about that movie too.

Some of the family conflict got a little repetitive and the setting wasn’t the most photogenic I’ve seen, but none of that ruined the movie for me.  Of course, it didn’t elevate it to a higher level either.

Basically it’s a story about family, responsibility and young, awkward love.  It’s funny and touching at times, you just have to get through a few slow parts and one very overprotective grandmother.

You can’t just kick a minor out of the house because you think he’s being a bad influence on his siblings.  So unfair…

10 – 2 for some slow sections and repetitiveness – .7 because I thought the setting was filmed in a sort of blah way at times – .2 for a few performances that just weren’t up to par with others = 7.1