Loud and livid performances compromise ultimate gender-bender flick
Aside from Vice Ganda’s “quad” portrayals, what is there to significantly remark about in the gay star’s latest film, “Boy, Girl, Bakla, Tomboy?” First off, the movie is really loud! Many members of the cast mistake volume for energy, and talk like the microphone has yet to be invented and they have to urgently call the attention of somebody who’s two pilapils away—!
After we get sort of used to all that shouting, observe that most of Vice’s relatives in Wenn Deramas’ flick are mental basket cases, certified (and screaming) crazies whose group mission in life is to make life really miserable for Vice’s parents.
Specifically, Vice’s paternal grandmother is a rich but demented harridan and virago who thinks that her beloved son (Joey Marquez) has married beneath him, so she moves heaven and hell to harass and bedevil his “unworthy” wife (Maricel Soriano).
The outcome of her series of mad-hatter schemes is that two of the quads are spirited off to the States to live the rich life with her and their dad, while Maricel and the two other kids are left to survive as best they can in this country.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that the two separated pairs of quads grow up with precious little love for their absent siblings and parent!
That’s OK from a plotting and central conflict point of view, but all that unrelieved craziness and nastiness gets to be a grating drag on viewers’ sensibilities. The laughs generated are sometimes of the smarmy, strident sort, and little warmth is generated in the characters’ relationships—until the big plot problem is belatedly presented:
One of the siblings gets really sick and needs a brother or sister to donate part of his or her liver—and nobody’s ecstatic about doing that!
Still, we welcome the introduction of the key plot complication, because it eventually gives all the screaming and squabbling and hating a welcome rest, and the estranged characters finally learn to (sort of) love one another.
In the end, the film even teaches a lesson or two about how feuding relatives can learn how to appreciate each other, even if the “mentors” lack the credibility to make the teaching point believable and meaningful.
It’s instructive to note that Maricel Soriano has gotten a citation for her portrayal of the quad’s harassed mother. While we agree that her performance is focused and credible, however, that’s about all it is, so in our view, it really doesn’t rise to sufficiently “awardable” heights.
Still, it’s good to see that Maricel can come up with a portrayal that isn’t shrill and “pushed” and over-the-top—so, hope springs!