Footnote to youth: A review of Bar Boys

It’s 2017, and for the disillusioned millennials of today, it’s becoming increasingly clearer that the band Bowling for Soup had it right in 2006: in a world of survival of the fittest, high school truly never ends. The Breakfast Club (1985) knew it, and so do the four horsemen of Bar Boys, director Kip Oebanda’s latest offering.

The premise is simple: a group of bright-eyed hopefuls choose to pursue law school together. From the academic pitfalls of freshman year to the button-downs of senior year, we follow Chris (Enzo Pineda), Erik (Carlo Aquino), Torran (Rocco Nacino), and Josh (Kean Cipriano) as they attempt to traverse the gray area between graduation and adulthood. Friendships are tested, tensions rise, and personalities are unlawfully eaten alive by the system. Life goes on.

What follows is a thrill ride of the cheekiest order. We are first met with a demonstration of the irreverent “bro” humor (naturally, inside an internet cafe) that comes with a bond like theirs. The staples of the college flick are all present in the form of readings, terror profs, frat parties, casual hookups, parental expectations, and application results.

You would think barkada comedies would be on their way out by now, but Bar Boys’ strength comes in that it is deeply relatable. There are no tricks and no tropes; the storytelling is straightforward, with cinematography that does the job of focusing solely on the characters and their ever-evolving worlds. Our four leading men do a great job at demonstrating both the youthful exuberance and the scornful disdain that their personas feel towards each other. The plot is at once as light as it is heavy, all without seeming forced or contrived.

Leaving the theater, you likely won’t be seeing the world through brand new eyes, rather, somewhat puffy ones. As a whole, the film reads like a love letter to youth; it doesn’t take a judge and a gavel to appreciate its commentary on the choices we make and the cards we’re dealt. It isn’t phenomenal by any means, but that shouldn’t take away from what Bar Boys is at its core: an honest and earnest portrayal of this crazy thing we call life.

“That’s what friends are for,” Chris later says to his brothers. “We get miserable together.” You will not be moved to change the world after leaving, instead, you will be reminded to hug your parents and hold your friends close. For a film about law school, Bar Boys will leave you favoring sentimentality over legalism for a long, long time.

Rating: 4.5/5

Photo retrieved from My Movie World.

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