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What critics are saying about Liza Soberano Hollywood debut

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Liza Soberano has made a memorable Hollywood debut as respected film critics laud her standout performance in "Lisa Frankenstein."

The actress' first Hollywood project arrived in Philippine cinemas on Wednesday, February 7.

Directed by Zelda Williams and written by Diablo Cody, the film stars Kathryn Newton in the title role and Cole Sprouse as the undead creature who becomes her companion.

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READ: Liza Soberano says 'Lisa Frankenstein' is a huge risk worth taking

The movie has garnered mixed reviews, but Soberano's portrayal of Taffy, the protagonist's cheerleader stepsister, appears to be the common bright spot in the reviews so far.

Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson described Soberano as an "ace scene stealer," noting the actress' ability to infuse depth into her role.

Lawson wrote: "…Cody does a good job of rounding out a stock character’s dimensions — Soberano has a tartness, an edge that makes her more fully human than she might be in a lesser writer’s hands. Or in a lesser actor’s. Soberano, a star in her native Philippines making her Stateside debut, is an ace scene stealer."

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Katcy Stephan of the Variety tweeted that Liza shines in the film as she delivers the "best one-liners."

Stephan said: "Lisa Frankenstein is bloody, campy fun! Kathryn Newton is a bona fide movie star, and Cole Sprouse excels in physical comedy. Liza Soberano shines as she delivers the film's best one-liners."

Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times remarked that Soberano's portrayal was so compelling that it exposed flaws in the film's script.

Walsh wrote: "The breakout star and true discovery of ‘Lisa Frankenstein’ is Soberano, who has a real gift for imbuing Cody’s famously clever and convoluted dialogue with a sincerity that elevates the character beyond an ironic archetype as she morphs from mean teen to scream queen. In fact, Soberano might be too good in the role — she’s so charming and sympathetic that there’s an emotional domino effect that exposes some problems with the script."

USA Today's Brian Truitt called Soberano "the movie's breakout gem."

He wrote: "From 'Freaky' to the upcoming 'Abigail,' Newton is quickly becoming one of horror’s freshest faces, and 'Riverdale' veteran Sprouse showcases a gift for physical comedy with what amounts to a silent-movie role. His Creature alone is worth the watch, though the movie’s breakout gem is Soberano, who brings scene-stealing verve as the protective Taffy gets caught up in her sibling’s shady business."

Valerie Complex of the Deadline praised Soberano's performance for injecting humor and charm into the narrative.

Complex wrote: "Soberano as Taffy delivers her lines with a humor that, whether by design or by accident, adds a quirky charm to the story. Her portrayal injects a dose of levity, highlighting the film’s campy sensibilities amidst its darker moments."

Collider's Taylor Gates praised Soberano's comedic timing and chemistry with co-star Kathryn Newton.

Gates said: "Soberano is the perfect foil for Newton. She’s been thriving in Filipino cinema for years, and it’s not hard to see why. Her comedic timing and delivery are phenomenal, and she’s able to bring vulnerability and sincerity to every scene, even when the material she has to say would look completely out-of-pocket and callous on paper.

"The sisterhood between Lisa and Taffy is a highlight of the film, running the gambit from sibling rivalry to forming an unexpected but affecting bond. In lesser hands, Taffy could be a stereotype — a one-dimensional character we’ve seen hundreds of times — but Soberano puts a refreshing spin on her, giving her real depth and scene-stealing moments.”

Observer's Dylan Roth credited Soberano for deviating from stereotypical portrayals of popular cheerleaders.

Roth said: "Cole Sprouse is at the center of the movie’s gross-out slapstick and makes a solid comic foil for Newton, but the real second lead of the film is Liza Soberano as Lisa’s stepsister Taffy. Where an actual 1989 comedy about a high school outcast would probably frame the popular cheerleader as her vain and vapid opposite, Taffy is the heart of the movie."

BJ Colangelo of the Slash Film said Soberano's role as Taffy earned her a place in the pantheon of memorable teen movie characters.

Colangelo wrote: "In lesser hands, Taffy would be nothing more than an archetypal Valley Girl coasting off of a 1000-watt smile and vocal fry, but in Soberano’s more than capable hands, Taffy earns her spot in the ‘amazing sister’ roster of the teen girl movie canon. Her comedic chops were a genuine surprise and if she’s not waking up on Monday to an inbox filled with leading role offers, something is seriously wrong."


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