The story of two brothers pushed into prostitution in different ways by their mother, who keeps losing her money to gambling and a freeloader boyfriend, Kalakal is the kind of sloppily made film that would be a bad melodrama if it weren't also so thoroughly enjoyable.
The movie depicts a family unhinged by an environment where men can use their bodies to take money from women and fags, who always seem hungry for sex. If you think you've seen that too many times already, well, you have. What's a little more special is the whacked sensibility of Kalakal, a movie that's not afraid to use goofy boinking sound effects during a job interview that turns into a blowjob, employ sniffing (of underwear, bodies) as a running motif, populate a bar with macho dancers who look like school delinquents picked up straight from the streetcorner, and make a shirtless teenager stand around the house with his arm up, exposing his armpit, for one entire sequence with only the flimsiest of logic. The raunchy idiocy of Kalakal surpasses its poor technical and narrative values to deliver pleasures clearly operating from a specific, personal, gay id. It's filmmaking that shits all over the place, but it's funny, sexy, and bold. It has personality.
Beejay Morales, who was reportedly 15 when he debuted in Hada two years ago, plays the same archetype in Kalakal: the underage object of lust of an older man, here played by Fredmoore Delos Santos as the businessman who hired him to shovel gravel. There's a whiff of expolitation in scenes featuring the goodlooking young actor, but then exploitation seems to be the strongest titillating weapon of Kalakal, no matter who is playing in whichever scene, even including, at one point, a flabby middleage housewife touching herself while peeping on a fucking couple. Normally, I would complain about the stereotypes and lazy ideas as those peppered all over the movie, but you can't take the politics of a film like this too seriously. I was delighted by it, and I can't wait to buy the video to rewatch the dirty, silly, crazy parts. Some comedies and horror ask us to check our brains out the door for maximum enjoyment; it should be done with some gay sex melodramas too.