Adolescent Victor Vargas (Victor Rasuk) hopes to promote his image as a young stud in Manhattan’s sweltering Lower East Side streets one summer. The popular but independent spirited local girl, 'Juicy’ Judy (Judy Marte) finds herself the target of his attentions. It takes a backroom deal between Victor and Judy’s brother Carlos (Wilfree Vasquez ) to effect a fresh introduction – in return for Victor returning the favour for Carlos with Victor’s sister Vicki (Krystal Rodriguez). Victor also has to help his kid brother Nino (Silvestre Rasuk) and manage his 74 year old grandmother (Altagracia Guzman), who is the put upon and exasperated acting parent for the three orphaned siblings. She threatens to throw him in the street, and Judy keeps giving him the cold shoulder, until Victor realises the difference between acting like a man and being one.
 

4
A Lower East Side teenager struggles to find some sanity.

In a crumbling tenement building on Manhattan\'s Lower East Side, Victor Vargas, Victor Rasuk, lives with his loving but cantankerous grandmother, Altagracia Guzman, and his younger sister and brother. Victor fancies himself a bit of a ladies\'man, but so far the only girl who has let him have his way with her is Fat Donna who lives upstairs. This makes him a bit of a laughing stock, so he decides to pursue the prettiest girl in the neighborhood, Juicy Judy, Judy Marte. Meanwhile various complications and mishaps enrage Grandmother to the point that she goes to the authorities to seek help in controlling her wayward grandson. Raising Victor Vargas, the first film by writer-director Peter Sollett, is a little gem. The actors are non-professionals who are playing characters close to themselves, and seldom have the problems of adolescence been so sensitively, honestly and amusingly portrayed. The performances are all superb, with Altagracia Guzman easily stealing the film as the stubbornly righteous grandmother who loves her grandchildren but who refuses to be intimidated by them. The minor characters, especially that of Judy\'s best friend, are also beautifully realised. Raising Victor Vargas is a very small film, but a most impressive one.