John Prats, Manilyn Reynes, Ogie Alcasid, Judy Ann Santos, Jon Avila
Super comedian Ogie Alcasid goes Mrs. Doubtfire for super celebrity Judy Ann Santos’ Notting Hill. The cross-dressing story – written by a committee that includes Alcasid himself – is a trifle, but we’ve seen enough comedies to know that even the stupidest plots are watchable for as long as they bring the funny. OMG lumbers about like a heavy sack of kamote because the director, Dante Nico Garcia, is averse to the thing called setup: you know, the ride before the punchline. The jokes are a barrage of gimmicks that wink and nudge out of nowhere. In one typical scene, Santos appears as if suddenly deranged, until we realize she’s drunk, until we realize she’s imitating dance steps from Pinoy stars of the 80’s, but by the time we process all this, the laughs have long past gone. Garcia’s previous film, his debut Ploning, was a potent drama that suffered from the same rhythm deficiency. Both movies -- one supposedly "art" and another supposedly "dumb" -- don't make it easy for the audience to ride along. I'm worried his next film might be another storytelling struggle.
But the half-absurd, fourth-wall-breaking, 80’s-trippin’ gambit pays off with the parental figures, played by Roderick Paulate as an is-he-gay-or-isn’t-he adoptive dad and his arch nemesis Carmi Martin as a washed up sexpot who stole his best friend. The closet queen jokes are tired, but Paulate knows how to cross the threshold of overacting to arrive at a place of pure bliss. The face-off between these two 80’s icons, moderated by John Lapus as a reporter, is over-the-top nonsense, and the movie’s liveliest moment.
Jon Avila plays beefcake showbiz boyfriend, but the real revelation is John Prats as brother sidekick. Especially when shirtless, he's the hottest guy with love handles to grace our movie screens in a long time, the epitome of a sexy chub who deserves to be a star.