Review: ‘Sabor tropical’

"Sabor tropical," splits time as a travelogue and a pseudo-verite character study.

Jorge Ameer’s latest low-budget opus, “Sabor tropical,” splits time as a Central American travelogue and a pseudo-verite character study, as the Panama-born director takes an uninhibited amigo down to his home country for some handheld hedonism. His subject (played by Colin Farrell lookalike Matthew Leitch, who had a blink-and-you-miss-it part in “The Dark Knight”) has no qualms baring all on camera, and Ameer seems more than happy to accommodate his exhibitionism in yet another of his awkward straight-boy seduction fantasies aimed at forgiving gay auds. Limited L.A. run begins June 24.

Pic’s loose conceit finds Brian (Leitch) enlisting Ameer to document his journey, then inexplicably alternates between video diary-style vignettes and semi-scripted scenes. While Ameer “innocently” observes them hanging out at the airport or getting drunk by the sea, Brian’s insatiable need for sexual attention keeps getting in the way (he’s constantly hooking up with online tricks or christening each new bedroom with a bout of onscreen onanism), until a mugging — by a muscular Colombian masseur, no less — forces Brian to confront his inner demons. Ameer can write off his vacation, but auds will want their two hours back.

Peter Debruge

Sabor tropical

Production

A Hollywood Independents/Ariztical Entertainment presentation of an A.J. Prods./Continuum Pictures production. Produced by Austin Anderson. Executive producers, Jorge Ameer, Michael Shoel, Matthew Leitch, Danny Torres, James Duval. Directed, written by Jorge Ameer.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Austin Anderson; editor, Anderson; music, Jason Frischetti, Winston Johnson (Dionysos). Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, June 20, 2009. Running time: 119 MIN.

With

Matthew Leitch, Jorge Ameer, Jose Rosete.
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