It’s hard enough on the streets for a Latino man, let alone a mentally disabled one. Despite his 70 IQ, Seymour (John Leguizamo) is a quintessential boriqua whose hoop dreams is inextricably bound to his tragic father fixation. The boy’s rabble-rousing mom, Mona (Julie Carmen), goes down the Saphic path with pothead Joanne (Rosie Perez, munching on dulce de leche ice cream like it’s going out of fashion), fighting police brutality only to get slain by a resentful white boy who fell through society’s cracks. Father Jack (Cliff Gorman) does the college poetry circuit while nursing a severe case of denial (according to him, Seymour isn’t a retard, he’s just a hustler). Seth Zvi Rosenfeld’s King of the Jungle is silly but as uncomfortable to watch as Leguizamo’s nuanced performance. Jack takes Seymour to a Knicks game; it’s only a matter of time before the young dreamer sneaks onto the court and everyone (spectator included) is embarrassed. Rosenfeld suggests that meeker Latinos have it harder in the jungle. Less naïve is his authentic evocation of a seedy New York City populated by lowlifes ranging from Annabella Sciorra’s hoochie-mama to Marisa Tomei’s uppity cop. The long-term implications of Seymour’s condition are deftly handled by film’s end—if some Latin boys go to hell, others just need a loving home.
- Urban World Films
- 99 min
- Seth Zvi Rosenfeld
- Seth Zvi Rosenfeld
- John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez, Julie Carmen, Cliff Gorman, Michael Rapaport, Marisa Tomei, Justin Pierce, Annabella Sciorra
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