Review by Vives Anunciacion
Directed by Joey Javier Reyes
Working Girls, the third version based on the groundbreaking 1984 sex comedy from national deity Ishmael Bernal, is a raket, in the sense that it was made essentially as an excuse for its makers and its artistas to collect their fees. Why else would the venerable Cherie Gil, from the esteemed acting clan of Eigenmanns, agree to look and sound like a ditz, her make-up shaggy and uneven, her lines dumber than her character, even if she was supposed to be the daughter of a dead tycoon equivalent to the Ayalas.
It’s a racket, in the sense that it manages to be funny despite the severe lack of cohesion and substance in its narrative, despite it having one of the worst cinematographic framing I have seen from a mainstream Filipino movie. Eugene Domingo, who is and will always be funny, gets the most screen time among the dozens of artistas in this pseudo-movie jumble of current stereotypes of women (by current I mean hindi na stereotype ngayon ang binubugbog na asawa/ the battered housewife is no longer a current stereotype) trying to make the better of themselves. Search “Working Girls – Gina Pareno” in YouTube and you’ll see what I mean by “the original is still better.”
I can keep rambling on how terrible this movie is, but much as I’d like to, it’s not worth my time – or yours.
Note: the original draft of this article ended with, “I can keep rambling on how terrible this movie is, but as a matter of fact, it’s not worth my time.” “As a matter of fact” was part of Gina Pareno’s memorable monologue in the original Working Girls. The original line goes, “As a matter of fact,” she tells the man she is seducing, played by Tommy Abuel, “I can speak English already. Habla Espanol. Tambuen labatiba. Para cruda empanada. Emfraciva de mirafafue. Anufaflu, anufafla,” and then she tumbles over her seat. The latest version makes use of the same “as a matter of fact” phrase, but, lest the audience misses it, Gina Pareno repeats it several times over in a useless, unfunny gesture to refer to the original. I really pity the lame writing in this version.
YAYA, YOU’RE SUCH A LOSER
Directed by Sylvain White
The most common action comedies are buddy-cop movies in the likes of Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour. Here in the Philippines we rarely make action movies anymore, except maybe for Metro Manila FilmFest, mainly because action flicks are expensive to mount.
The Losers is based on the Vertigo comic, a little unheard-of for my part. The title refers to a group of former black-op specialists out to take revenge on a terrorist (Jason Patric) who framed them and tried to have them killed. Led by its colonel Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the group is aided by a secretive agent Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who turns out to have revenge plans of her own.
The movie feels like a comic book, its characters are likeable and funny but mere caricatures in a maze of so-so action pieces that’s halfway between no-budget and big-budget. The fun and funny mostly come from interactions between communications expert Jensen (soon-to-be Captain America Chris Evans) and transport expert Pooch (Columbus Short). Other than the fun, there’s nothing new here. That makes the title appropriate description of the movie. Vives Anunciacion