First-time filmmakers seldom apply the less-is-more principle, and such is the case with writer-helmer-composer-editor-star Romeo Candido’s “Lolo’s Child,” a drama featuring talent and self-indulgence in equal measure. Centering on a Filipino-Canadian clan’s epic wake for a deceased patriarch, pic works best in well-observed seriocomic moments of human behavior. Less successful are music-vid style excesses and the multihyphenate’s own bilingual ballads. Outside fest circuit, best chances lie in specialized broadcast exposure.
Death of oft-abusive father Lolo provides a bittersweet reunion for aspiring musician Junior (Candido), his long-suffering mother (Yvette Leano) and colorful relatives. Latter include three highly histrionic aunties, a karaoke-king uncle who styles himself after Elvis, and beautiful Sarah (Stephanie Comilang). Lolo had jousted with a handsome, egomaniacal cousin for Sarah, and his fantasy of their rivalry as a corny Filipino melodrama is very funny. There also are strong sequences of affectionate comedy and poignant understatement elsewhere, but essentially intimate ensemble drama is frequently overwhelmed by fussy split-screen effects, mannered repetitions, montages supporting soundtracked tunes, et al. Nonetheless, perfs are solid and presentation resourceful on a modest budget.