‘Bar Boys’ Movie Review: The World of Law In Fun (Sometimes Scary) Retrospect


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Getting law school, finishing law school and eventually passing the bar is not an easy feat, but “Bar Boys” definitely makes it look like a thrilling adventure.

‘Bar Boys’ Movie Enzo, Carlo, Rocco
Enzo Pineda as Chris, Carlo Aquino as Eric and Rocco Nacino as Toran in ‘Bar Boys’/TropicFrills Film Productions
A three-year passion project from budding director Kip Oebanda, “Bar Boys” tackles the story of 4 friends - Toran (Rocco Nacino), Chris (Enzo Pineda), Josh (Kean Cipriano) and Eric (Carlo Aquino) as they embark on the tumultuous 4 years of law school and the grueling bar exam that follows.

One thing that this film has nailed from the get-go is humor. Whether you are someone who knows the ins and outs of being a law student or completely oblivious to the technical concepts used throughout the movie, every single joke hits. It does help too, that the actors and even supporting actors all had great comedic timing and un-lazy jokes. That said, it does not gloss over the things that would have real-life law students develop an affiliation to the characters. If anything, it was able to find the storytelling balance between making those who can relate the feeling of being in on the gags and making it universal so that everyone can enjoy it.

‘Bar Boys’ Movie Enzo, Carlo, Rocco, Kean
‘Bar Boys’ Official Poster/TropicFrills Film Productions
That said, whether you are in or out in the law circle, “Bar Boys” offers something to everybody who has felt inadequate and burdened by their social status. Getting into Law school may already be a huge thing to the outside world, but it is very different within the boundaries of the environment bubble one is entering. There is a certain invisible hierarchy that oftentimes get overlooked at by academically superior students but is largely felt by those who strive day in and day out and yet somehow, still feels lacking.

In particular, Eric’s storyline was equally emotional and fulfilling - barely passing the LAE and struggling the whole time just to keep up with everyone else. Without the luxury of Chris’s money and Toran’s brilliant memory, he was left with no choice but to strive as hard as he can to achieve his (and his father’s) dream.

‘Bar Boys’ Movie Enzo, Carlo, Rocco, Kean
Carlo Aquino as Eric, Kean Cipriano as Josh, Enzo Pineda as Chris and Rocco Nacino as Toran in ‘Bar Boys’/TropicFrills Film Productions
All those said, there were still some aspects of the film that could have been tightly pulled together for a more cohesive narrative. “Bar boys” presented 4 main leads all hoping to get a slot in law school. While Toran, Chris and Eric were all given well crafted individual stories - all of which made sense separately and/or tied-in together, it would have been nice to see Josh’s perspective - someone who did not make the cut, as his old buddies work their way to becoming lawyers. It almost felt like he was lost in the shuffle in the film’s second act with just numerous pop-ups without us fully knowing how he coped with his “failure.”

Additionally, the planted plot seed of Toran’s love life had no pay-off. In fact, we never saw his supposed lover following their one-night together although a reunion and possibly even a full-blown relationship was teased. It would have been a better tied-in narrative of there was some kind of a closure with that subplot instead of it basically having no significant sense other than to reiterate that law students are too busy for a full blown relationship.

All in all, “Bar Boys” is a universally appealing film - charming but not too cheesy. But for Law students, undergrads, grads and everyone else who ever dreamed of becoming a lawyer, the film is a great ride that would stir up any kind of emotion rooted from the dream that was, that is or that will never be.

“Bar Boys” is part of this year’s first ever Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino where several other local films are played in cinemas nationwide starting August 16 to 22.

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-- ALD, The Summit Express

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