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  •  REVIEW: RAISING VICTOR VARGAS

    Raising Victor Vargas

    Teen wolf

    The story of a New York teenager on the prowl features strong performance from a non-professional cast, but inadequate writing and directorial preparation leave "Raising Victor Vargas" dramatically stagnant.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    (Originally reviewed in March 2003 at the New Directors / New Films festival, Lincoln Center.)

    Victor, a good-looking Lower East Side teenage on the make, has a problem. Her name is Donna and he's about to regret ever getting involved with her.

      
    RAISING VICTOR VARGAS
    Written and directed by: Peter Sollett.
    Cast: Victor Rasuk, Judy Marte, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Rivera, Altagracia Guzman, Silvestre Rasuk, Krystal Rodriguez, Kevin Rivera, Wilfree Vasquez, Donna Maldonado.
    Cinematography: Tim Orr.
     SCHEDULE
    Village East 187 2nd Ave at 12th St.

     RELATED ARTICLES
    New Directors / New Films 2003
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  • Festival site
  • "You know what, Victor?" his sister taunts. "After today you won't be able to set foot outside without somebody laughing in your face. You'll always be known as Fat Donna's man — and that shit will be funny."

    Trying to restore his reputation after being seen with Fat Donna, he decides to woo the highly desirable Judy, but he'll have to learn a lot about women before he's ready for her. She holds him at arm's length when he lures her up to his family's place and tries to round a few of the bases with her, but that doesn't stop him from boasting to friends that he hit a home run. He calls her "Juicy Judy" behind her back. Nice.

    What unfolds is a story of conflict between the primal drive to get laid and the need to learn how to treat a woman. Victor's younger brother Nino (the two are played by real-life brothers Victor and Silvestre Rasuk) is equally desperate but much less smooth, and looks to Victor, not exactly an authoritative source, for advice on how to get himself a girl too. Their efforts lead to some of the film's best and funniest moments as their strictly religious grandmother (Altagracia Guzman) decides Victor is a bad apple leading the whole household into sin and tries to contain the budding male libido.

    On the plus side, "Raising Victor Vargas" has a very engaging cast. Victor Rasuk and Judy Marte have a lot of appeal in the lead roles, the heavily accented Guzman is fine as the Dominican-born grandma who's still not entirely familiar with the American way of life, and Silvestre Rasuk and Krystal Rodriguez give solid performances as the family's younger siblings. Given a set of predetermined situations in lieu of an actual script, the actors were responsible for developing much of their own dialogue, and they've done well — it usually rings true.

    However, the film doesn't feel fully formed as a story, and maybe this approach is part of the reason. It doesn't have much complexity as a boy-meets-girl story, and a more developed script might have added some weight. Plot threads are simply dropped and many scenes feel a bit stagnant. The actors themselves have turned in very good performances based on instinct and personal experience, but writer-director Peter Sollett needed to plan his movie with more structure and in greater detail to tell the story in a more engaging way.

    MARCH 28, 2003
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Raising Victor Vargas:

  • [no subject]   from Sarah Stollet, Aug 6, 2003
  • Re: [no subject]   from Angela, Sep 14, 2003
  • [no subject]   from Diane, Sep 29, 2003
  • i love this movie   from nicole, Oct 5, 2003
  • Raising Victor Vargas review   from Steve, Oct 24, 2003
  • [no subject]   from jamie, Nov 30, 2003
  • only if   from one, Jan 3, 2004
  • What a great surprise!   from Helder Dos Santos, Jan 14, 2004
  • victor vargas "fresh cinema"   from sci-fi, Feb 6, 2004
  • Ma babi   from Dopey, Apr 17, 2004
  • que papi   from Baby.D, Jul 11, 2004
  • Definitely the best shocker movie I've seen   from Aja Nikkol, Apr 17, 2004
  • Re: Definitely the best shocker movie I've seen   from Clawz G'Law, Apr 23, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Soffie and Chanty, Apr 23, 2004
  • victor   from Jennifer, Apr 25, 2004
  • Victor & Silvestre Rasuk   from Silvia, May 17, 2004
  • Re: Victor & Silvestre Rasuk   from Yvonne, Dec 29, 2004
  • R.V.V.   from Ari, Jun 21, 2004
  • sexy Vic   from Jodee and Alyse, Jul 11, 2004
  • RAISING VICTOR VARGAS   from STACE, Jul 12, 2004
  • Victor Rasuk   from Stef, Jul 21, 2004
  • movie   from mo, Jul 17, 2004
  • SILVESTRE RASUK   from LIZZY, Sep 27, 2004
  • NEWS FLASH   from HONEY, Oct 5, 2004
  • Victor & his brother are some good lookin' mens!   from Jasmine Woods, Nov 24, 2004
  • Great Movie!   from Danielle Juanita, Nov 24, 2004
  • REAL as Real can get   from Angela Rojas, Nov 25, 2004
  • ur hot   from Miranda, Nov 26, 2004
  • raising victor vargas   from , Jan 9, 2005
  • Great Movie!!!   from Lora, Feb 1, 2005
  • I LOVE YOU!   from JoAnNa, Feb 7, 2005
  • [no subject]   from Candii, Feb 20, 2005
  • hott   from emma, Mar 27, 2005
  • HOT 'N' SEXY VICTOR   from OLIVIA, Apr 20, 2005
  • HOT 'N' SEXY VICTOR   from OLIVIA, Apr 20, 2005
  • Re: HOT 'N' SEXY VICTOR   from Olivia, May 1, 2005
  • MUST SEE!!!   from Dallyssa, May 31, 2005
  • damn papi chulo   from alyssandra, Jul 20, 2005
  • hae   from rychis1, Jul 22, 2005
  • I LOVE VICTOR   from Alexis, Jul 31, 2005
  • I dont know silvestre rasuk   from call me Ja, Aug 13, 2005
  • silvester rasuk   from christine, Aug 16, 2005
  • [no subject]   from Lashana, Aug 29, 2005
  • LUV IT!   from Jamela, Aug 29, 2005
  • [no subject]   from Sarah Mel, Sep 23, 2005
  • la misma verdad   from angie ramirez, Oct 24, 2005
  • victor   from Jordan Whitley, Feb 7, 2006
  • cutie pie victor   from janell, Mar 11, 2006
  • its my favorite movie   from Sebastian Spindler, May 18, 2006
  • raising victor vargas   from keith, May 25, 2006
  • Raising victor vargas   from keith, May 28, 2006
  • I love judy   from keith mitchell, Jun 1, 2006
  • Judy Marte   from Derwin, Dec 3, 2006
  • I love Victor   from Ashley, Dec 28, 2006
  • You are so sexy!   from Jerrica, Jan 14, 2007
  • ALEXIS   from ALEXIS, Feb 13, 2007
  • Hottie   from Nora, Mar 2, 2007
  • [no subject]   from short, Jun 6, 2007
  • about victor vargas movie   from , May 18, 2008

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