Sid Lucero has fun with his portrayal of an ambitious hotel bellboy.
As part of this year’s lineup of Metro Manila Film Fest New Wave
the movie seems to aim at the lighter side of one man’s goal of fulfilling his dream of getting a US visa and working in the United States. Lead star Sid Lucero plays the title role of Toto
, a simple guy from Tacloban who works for a hotel in Manila as a bellboy and who helps his friend sell pirated DVDs to the rest of the hotel staff. Toto works hard for his family who is still trying to recover from the typhoon that ravaged his hometown and he is kept company by memories/apparitions of his dad which also serves as a life guide of sorts (playfully depicted by Bembol Roco).
Sid Lucero slips into his role like a comfortable pair of pants, not really taking the character too far when it comes to comedy or drama which makes him perfect to embody the role of Toto the dreamer.
When Toto realizes that it will be next to impossible to get an approved visa with no show money, no higher education, and no travel experience abroad, he decides to consider other ways to get to the U.S. Toto shows he is willing to do everything to get a visa, even if it means sacrificing his relationship with fellow hotel staff member Tessa (Mara Lopez), faking a rich family background (with the help of his best friend, the ever colorful Thou Reyes), and even proposing instant marriage to any and all the guests in the hotel that have American citizenship.
He eventually strikes up a friendship with one of the guests in the hotel, a gay American consultant who initially had eyes on him. The consultant ends up helping Toto learn more about how life can turn out for the best when you least expect it.
The movie tries to keep a light tone all throughout, even during the more touching scenes when Toto decides to visit his cancer-stricken mother (played impressively by Bibeth Orteza) who lives in Tacloban with his two younger siblings. Toto shares news that he has finally found a woman willing to accept payment for marriage. Although his mom thinks Toto will end up becoming a loser like his dad who also wanted to bring their family to America, Toto hopes each attempt will be his ticket to the States.
Directed by US-trained director John Paul Su, Toto talks about a subject many Pinoys can relate to. Other colorful characters pepper the story with interesting elements like the liberated but mysterious hotel guest (played by Liza Dino), Toto’s cross-dressing gay-for-hire cousin (which makes Rafa Siguion-Reyna’s one of the film’s highlights), his close friend who helps him get into a very short-lived piracy business, and an ensemble cast of actors who make up Toto’s world.
Toto is currently being shown in cinemas until December 24 in cinemas as part of the Metro Manila Film Festival New Wave competition.