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