Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Desperadas 2

If a joke doesn't have a punchline, is it still a joke? The annoying Desperadas sequel is certainly built from comedic situations, but somebody forgot to draw any actual humor from them. Joel Lamangan, the country's busiest B-movie director, doesn't so much stage his scenes as he just lets it hang to dry. The scenarios start out promising -- for example, a straight hottie (Will Devaughn) is clueless that his buddy is gay (Wendell Ramos) while they're in a spa together -- but the comedy ends where the premise begins, and what follows is only a limp fade away. The non-stop musical score is the band aid to remind us we should be laughing.

Essentially a wish-fulfillment fantasy in which perpetually dolled up women get shopping money and fashion parades mainly through wealthy men, and create problems for themselves basically because they don't have any, Desperadas 2 is worthy of this blog's attention only because of three things: (SPOILERS ALERT!)

(1) Ogie Alcasid, one of the most gifted comedians of his generation, sashays in faux-Africana drag as a half-sister. She's first assumed to be transsexual in the same durugatory breath as she is called ugly. Her main fancy are "bagets" or jailbait boys, then finds a helpless one (Carlo Guevarra). Her sexual attraction to him is likened to cannibalism. They fall in love, get married, smack lips-to-lips without tongue. It's ultimately a pointless thread, in which the fine comic talent is reduced to an exotic caveman non-character.

(2) Wendell Ramos is an ex-husband and father who, after being spurned by one lover (Dion Ignacio) who says he'd rather sleep with women, decides he needs a sex change operation. Is he still a transgender if his desire to be a woman is really just a ruse to find a man? Whatever. In the end, he does seem like a happy woman with a man in his arms, of course.

(3) Plenty of eye candy. The supporting men -- Will Devaughn, Jay-R, Wendell Ramos, TJ Trinidad, Christian Vasquez -- each get their bodyshot moments, with some bulging briefs and the innuendo-laden sexual situations. They're also able performers who sometimes make room for cute hamminess. But the rest of the men in the periphery also get the fairy dust sexy sprinkle, including Dion Ignacio, Carlo Guevarra, Alex Castro, and Paolo Avelino. Maybe if it were a male calendar instead of a comedy, I wouldn't ask for punchlines.


Related Links:
At PEP's Coverage of the 34th Metro Manila Film Festival


Anonymous said...

you just hit it right with your description of Joel Lamangan -- a B-director. he's nothing but a second rate, even third rate, Brocka wannabe who was better and unpretentious when he was starting out but ended as just another trash generator. hmph! :-)

Reyville of Simply Manila said...

i browsed it, literally. i purchased a pirated dvd, this movie looked very average and very joel lamangan. as always, urs is a superb review. keep on doing it.

Joseph Roc said...

Honestly, I don't know how and why a person like him can be regarded as a member of the DGPI. There are far more talented directors who deserve being a part of that group.

Anonymous said...

Ang tanong: nagpakita ba ng kilikili si Wendell o sinuman sa mga boys sa movie? Sa totoo lang, that would be the only reason for me to watch it.

(And I hope that you do answer this--okay, medyo silly but it's important for me!--question.)

thebaklareview said...

to anonymous 2: no, i don't remember any good armpit shot. maybe i blinked.

ethan h said...

I don't know if it is correct to classify Lamangan as a B-movie director. B movies are a genre characterized by low budgets and cast no name actors. Lamangan works with the major studios (Regal) and has A-list stars.

I guess he is a B-movie director, if "B" stands for bad and busy. That's a double B!

thebaklareview said...

my explanation of why joel lamangan is a director of b-movie sensibility

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