Fruit Fly, Just Another Adopted Immigrant Identity Crisis Musical Comedy
Livelier than the typical low-budget immigrant saga of grappling with one's hybrid cultural identity, Asian-Amerindie musical Fruit Fly still underwhelms with a mixed bag of melodies (a tune about public transit?), flat vocals, awkward choreography, and a strained script full of stereotypes. First-time director H.P. Mendoza can't quite capture the homegrown charm of his 2006 writing/composing effort Colma: The Musical, which was also rife with characters breaking into snarky song over bubbly Casio-pop—but was catchy, clever, and deep-down-sincere. In Fruit Fly, Filipina-American performance artist Bethesda (Colma's L.A. Renigen) is newly transplanted to the Castro district of San Francisco, where she shares a communal flat with a low-Rent motley crew, including a gay stage designer, a lesbian artist couple, and a young runaway. There, she tries to track down her birth mother as an inspiration for a one-woman show, and also attempts to lose her label as a "fag hag." (The movie's most amusing number plays like a New Wave version of "The Banana Song," with gay-bar patrons flinging a laundry list of pejoratives at Bethesda with sass: "homo honey," "poofter pousse," "sissy-slut"). Hedwig and the Angry Inch this ain't, but Mendoza is too talented to dismiss over one DIY dud.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Alex Gibney: Steve Jobs Had the 'Focus of a Monk — Without the Empathy'
- Netflix’s 'Narcos' Tries to Be 'The Wire' for Colombia’s Drug War
- ‘The Second Mother’ Offers a Sharp Brazilian Take on the Upstairs/Downstairs Drama
- The Predictability of Teary Kids Doc 'My Voice, My Life' Doesn't Make It Any Less Powerful