It was a bachelor’s life for hard-working and fun-loving Ray Ray Dominguez (Joey Dedio) who dreamt of leaving the barrio for a more carefree existence in Miami. That’s until one day when everything changed – and he became a reluctant “Tio Papi” aka Uncle Daddy to his sister’s six children ages 6 to 16. Now, in charge of raising this energetic (and expensive) clan, Ray Ray must make important decisions on what life really is all about. Combining heart-warming drama with light-hearted comedy, TIO PAPI, directed by Fro Rojas from the original screenplay by Joey Dedio and Brian Herskowitz, is an upbeat story of life’s unexpected surprises and ultimately what matters the most – the love of family.
Following the death of his sister Ray Ray, a workaholic bachelor, finds himself placed a soul guardian over her six children who range in age from less than five to those difficult teenage years. Quickly finding himself utterly inept as a surrogate father Ray Ray enlists the assistance of a social worker intending to find foster homes for the children; however despite the problems and mischief his nieces and nephews get in to Ray Ray quickly develops a soft spot for them all, is it too late to go back on his attempts to get rid of them?
Despite the charms on offer in this Latino family comedy there is little more than it’s ethnicity that causes it to stand out from a number of unimaginative made for TV movies and afternoon specials. The storyline is obvious from the very beginning and although the performances and the little quirks and twists of Tio Papi there was little about it that felt genuinely new and imaginative.
With an original screenplay by the film’s star Joey Dedio – Ray Ray – and Brian Herskowitz the film does have a slight rawness to it, a certain something that evokes inexperience and freshness on the part of the writing; whether this is a good or bad thing I am as of yet still undecided; as I feel in many ways it is a contributor to the pleasant and entertaining aspect of the film, yet on the other hand I feel it is what holds the film back: preventing it from ever truly exploring the emotional experiences available in such a story.
Ultimately, there really isn’t much to Tio Papi, its sweet enough to be entertaining, but it lacks substance and charisma; remaining simply another template of a typical family comedy.
You rated this film: 2
Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Classification is to be confirmed by the British Board of Film Classification