Reel Affirmations 2006
Review by Tim Plant
Rating: (5 out of 5)
Saturday, 10/14/2006, 5:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre
COLMA, CALIF., A TOWN of cemeteries where the dead outnumber the living 1,500-to-one, is hardly a likely locale for a musical. But director Richard Wong and screen- and songwriter HP Mendoza have created a fun and quirky world out of this bizarre setting.
Filled with shots of San Francisco in the background, Colma: The Musical follows three recent graduates as they sing and dance and struggle to come to terms with life after high school.
Rodel (Mendoza), a poet, feels that he has to be the good son (he is, after all, the one not in prison) and that means he must stay in the closet. His best friend is Billy (Jake Moreno), a hopeful — and straight — actor starring in local productions and pining for a lost love. Rounding out the group is Maribel (L.A. Renigen), whose main concerns are getting fake IDs and looking ”fuckable.”
The first half dozen songs cover everything from the boring life in Colma to crashing college parties. However, the second half of the film tackles more serious themes, or rather more mature themes, such as love, family acceptance, and becoming an adult.
What makes Colma so fun to watch is the obvious blast that creators had making the movie working in the genre. In Colma, it’s acceptable to not answer your cell phone when you’re in the middle of a song and to use a car alarm as your back-up singer. While the actors may not hit every note, they are able to carry off a harmonious film.
One part Rent, one part Avenue Q, and one part Rocky Horror Picture Show, Colma: The Musical is an enjoyable addition to musical cinema. — Tim Plant