“Utterly filthy! The songs all display a grand helping of wit, though Mendoza’s predilection toward perversion can grow a bit wearisome.” – Dean Carrico, Honolulu Weekly

Fruit Fly, playing Sun 10/18 and Mon, 10/19 at Dole Cannery, uses its songs as pure whimsy, and the playfulness comes through from the opening credits in H.P. Mendoza’s opening score. This is the second musical for the screenwriter, who starred in 2006’s Colma: The Musical, and like that film, Casio keyboards ought to be sending him thank you letters come Christmas time. Following the adventures of Bethesda (L.A. Renigen, who also starred in Colma), a Filipina girl working through abandonment issues through performance art, the musical numbers begin as soon as she appears on screen, in a loving tribute to San Francisco’s public transit system. Moving into a communal house filled with various misfits, Mendoza has the characters tell their stories through songs, from a ballad toward teen angst (“Speechless”), to the utterly filthy duet “We Have So Much In Common.” Bethesda makes friends, finds lovers, searches out her missing mother and comes to a realization that in her short time in the city, her community has already outed her as a Fruit Fly (a more PC-friendly term for “f*g hag,” which is also debated and discussed through song).

All told, Fruit Fly has 19 musical numbers, ranging from punk to electro dance. The songs all display a grand helping of wit, though Mendoza’s predilection toward perversion can grow a bit wearisome. The film won this year’s Audience Award at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, and for those who can handle subject matter that makes no apologies, it’s obvious why it was so well-received, even by those who usually avoid musicals.

(ed: “Predilection toward perversion”?  Dude…it’s a song about sex between two guys.  In light of Proposition 8, a journalist really ought to watch his words…)

Read more here: http://honoluluweekly.com/film/current-film/2009/10/the-power-of-music/

3 Responses to ““Utterly filthy! The songs all display a grand helping of wit, though Mendoza’s predilection toward perversion can grow a bit wearisome.” – Dean Carrico, Honolulu Weekly”

  1. Dean Carrico says:

    Sorry I’m so late to the party. To clarify, I wasn’t suggesting the acts, whether heterosexual or homosexual, were perverted in the sense that they were wrong. Only that the over-stimulation/suggestive aspects had grown tiresome. In example, I mean in-as-much as how South Park lost their edge from the overuse of profanity, and so they switched to topical humor. I welcome discussion, and you may reach me at deancarrico with the standard g-mail address, if you want to discuss this further.

  2. Right on! Among other logical fallacies in this “traditionalist” -ism is the ‘appeal to common practice’, embedded therein. After all, there’s nothing healthy about being well adjusted to a sick society.

  3. H.P. Mendoza says:

    Dean, no, let’s keep this public. That’s the beauty of the modern age. You published it publicly, so I’m responding publicly. The beauty of online film criticism is that people can respond instantaneously. :)

    There’s one song (“We Have So Much in Common”) in which the second half goes into graphic detail about sexual acts. ONE. A song that’s 3 minutes and 41 seconds. Nowhere else in the movie does it get as graphic as that. Certainly not in the lyrics. I reserved all of the raunchiness for that one song, and it’s an indictment of the over sexualized nature of gay hookups.

    I’d like for you to cite other instances in which perversion pops up in the movie. If you say that the predilection toward perversion grows wearisome in the “We Have So Much in Common” the 11th of 19 songs, then I’ll accept that (even though I stand by the fact that the raunchiness lasts for half of a 4 minute song). But your statement is “The songs all display a grand helping of wit, though Mendoza’s predilection toward perversion can grow a bit wearisome”.

    I can take all kinds of criticism. Hell, a movie critic called me “downright ugly” and I knew it was only his opinion. But, going off of the sentiment implied by the construction of your sentence, I’d like for you to cite other instances in the other songs in Fruit Fly which show my “predilection toward perversion”.

    H.P.

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