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Jeremy Strong (#110 of 1)

Sundance Film Festival 2012: Filly Brown and Robot and Frank

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Sundance Film Festival 2012: <em>Filly Brown</em> and <em>Robot and Frank</em>
Sundance Film Festival 2012: <em>Filly Brown</em> and <em>Robot and Frank</em>

Filly Brown plays out like a caricature of every stereotypical Sundance drama about plucky young heroines who overcome great adversity just by sticking to their guns and never abandoning their dreams. Unfortunately, the filmmakers don’t know how to dramatize the travails of a supposedly talented Latina rapper—“supposedly” because the song that’s meant to prove she’s a talented and soulful performer has laughably obnoxious lyrics that boast how Maria “Filly Brown” Tonorio (newcomer Gina Rodriguez) is true to herself because she doesn’t have “fake tits” or that she’s so fierce that she practically has two clitorises and will even take on “anyone with two tits.” But these lyrics aren’t apparently all that Maria’s about; there’s also her naïve free-style verses about how Latinos working minimum-wage jobs in Los Angeles go unnoticed by rich white folks. Maria’s sophomoric calls for people to notice the guy that washes their cars is understandable; she is, after all, presented as a young, boastful star-in-the-making. But what’s not as defensible is the constant way that neophyte screenwriter and co-director Youssef Delara defines Maria’s world in broad and laughably klutzy terms.