Filipino films and food rarely go together, but when they do, it’s like having puto with your dinuguan. Or bagoong with your mangga. In celebration of our love for food, and passion for local cinema, we are featuring a not-so-old Pinoy food movie from 2001. A throwback, if you will.
Directed by Laurice Guillen
Screenplay by Vincent Nebrida
Produced by ABS-CBN Entertainment and Unitel Pictures in association with Magic Adobo Productions LLC
Taking its title from one of the country’s national dishes, American Adobo is a heartwarming film about four US-based Filipinos who have been friends since college. It shines a light on their struggles to maintain a happy stateside life in the face of personal conflicts.
Sex is the appetizer. Love is the main course. Friendship is the dessert.
As with the dish, which uses many of our local ingredients, American Adobo is a delightful treat that brings together some of the Philippines’ top acting talents.
(The following may contain spoilers)
Christopher De Leon plays Mike, a former activist who is now an established newspaper editor struggling to reconcile the emptiness of his current reality with his old principles as a radical. He also has to deal with his unhappy married life.
Dina Bonnevie is Marissa, an attractive socialite with a glamorous facade that hides plenty of insecurities, including her lack of conviction when it comes to dealing with her boyfriend and his sexual indiscretions.
Ricky Davao gives life to the character of the closeted homosexual Gerry, a copywriter frustrated with his career trajectory. Gerry’s internal conflicts in coming out to his friends (and to his very conservative mother in the Philippines) make for an interesting mix of humor, tension, and heartfelt pathos.
Cherry Pie Picache plays Tere, a single, mid-forties accountant who feels insecure about her chances of finding love. An excellent cook, she throws dinner parties regularly for her friends.
Slice of Life
Told over a course of a year, the story examines the hard choices the characters have to make as they deal with relationships, career, and cultural identity. What keeps this group of friends intact is their love for intimate get-togethers, their friendship, and, well, adobo.
Comedy With A Dash of Drama Drama With a Dash of Comedy
The movie is a comedy, but no Filipino flick is complete without anyone shedding a tear or going hysterical. So expect hefty servings of good old Pinoy-style melodrama.
The story is kind of predictable, but pretty tight for an ensemble. It is not without its flaws, but it definitely has a lot of heart. And food.
(To nitpick, some of the scenes are even a bit hokey, like the one with Gerry’s arrival back to the country. As if to the drive the point that he is indeed in a Philippine town, there’s a quick panning shot of a street that shows an old church, a jeepney, and, guess what, a calesa. It’s a nice tableau, nonetheless.)
Lorna: Ano ‘to, Filipino adobo o American adobo?
Tere: Ang adobo kahit saan, pareho rin ‘yan. Akala lang nila iba.
Lorna: Bakit ba ang sarap ng adobo mo kaysa sa iba?
Tere: Ewan ko. Pareho lang naman ang ingredients ko. Maybe it’s the care I bring to it.
Gerry: She (Marissa) doesn’t make dinner. She makes reservations.
Marissa: At least I get to eat in these fine dining places. Yung iba d’yan, puro McDonald’s na lang.
Every Filipino household has its way own adobo recipe. Even American Adobo‘s official website features its own version. You might want to check it out.
Did you like our mini-movie review? I hope we did a good job. If not, then it’s back to food reviews for us.
Movie Stills: (c) ABS-CBN Entertainment and Unitel Pictures in association with Magic Adobo Productions LLC