Jul 29, 2011

[Movies] Here Comes The Bride (2010)

Here Comes The Bride (2010I haven't watched many local movies over the years. Admittedly a large part of it is related to my lack of appreciation for the kinds of movies we end up producing and partly also due to my challenges with the language at times. Our movies tend to follow time-worn formulas instead of original stories since movie producers opt to create things that history has established that the masses will more likely enjoy instead of exploring new creative ground. Thus we get all these different movie tropes specific to local cinema such as the poor guy falling in love with the rich girl (and vice versa), the comedy with slapstick routines and nonsensical dance numbers and the high dramas centered around Chinese-Filipino families.

So yeah, I'm pretty jaded when it comes to local cinema.

Now I do have a reasonable respect for some individuals in the industry, and among them is Eugene Domingo. Sure, she can do the kind of shallow, comedic slapstick that the studios love but she's also capable of a lot of wit when given the chance plus she's amazing when it comes to diverse character ranges. She's quite the actress in this regard and thus every now and then I indulge.

So prior to our catching a screening of her film, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, my partner and I went on a sort of Eugene Domingo marathon to catch up with her more recent film ventures. And thankfully, most of them weren't too bad at all.

Here Comes the Bride is a 2010 Filipino comedy which plays with the whole body-switching theme like Freak Friday or perhaps 17 Again. The movie was written and directed by Chris Martinez.

The movie centers around the wedding of Stephanie (Angelica Panganiban) to Harold (Tom Rodriguez) and the strange events just before the actual event. Given the wedding is set to take place out of town, this means all the guests making the trek to the beach side location. Among them include Stephanie's godmother Precy (Eugene Domingo), a feisty lawyer and career woman, Medelyn (Tuesday Vargas), the maid of one of the guests, Bien (Jaime Fabregas), the elderly patriarch and grandfather of the groom and Toffee (John Lapus), the gay image stylist working the wedding. Somehow these guests together with Stephanie end up with their souls or personalities mixed up between the five of them after a freak accident on the supposed "Magnetic Hill" during a solar eclipse.

It's a comedy so it doesn't have to make sense.

So in terms of the switching, Stephanie ends up in Precy's body, Precy ends up in Medelyn's body, Medelyn ends up in Bien's body, Bien ends up in Toffee's body and Toffee ends up in Stephanie's body. Get the chain? Good. So you can imagine the hilarity that ensures with all the actors trying to impersonate one another. Thus you have a feisty lawyer now acting like a sad little girl trying to get to her wedding although to her mother (Cherry Pie Picache) all she can see is her best friend. The bride is now acting like a gay man who finally has the right "equipment" to sleep with men as much as she wants. The maid now speaks legalese and is standing up for her rights. The old man is overwhelmed with his new found wealth after a life of poverty. And the gay stylist is not acting like a straight guy who is determined to enjoy his youth.

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 09:  Actress Euge...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThe charm of the movie, as designed, is seeing the various actors try to impersonate one another. I feel this was more central to the humor than the strange situations they set up for everyone in that manner. Of course the best performances have to go to Eugene Domino and Tuesday Vargas, who do a pretty stellar job of pretending to be Angelica and Eugene respectively. Admittedly I'll favor Tuesday a bit more here since her portrayal and the way her character was written are just hilarious and more than worth enduring all the others.

Of the other players, they simply weren't as funny. John Lapus' version of a straight guy was too hammy and not at all believable. I'm not sure what Jaime Fabregas wanted to convey with his part in things. And Angelica didn't really convince me she was a gay guy, but maybe I'd believe she's a guy. Period. Tom Rodriguez was as wooden in terms of his acting as I expected. Then again, his role was mainly eye candy and thus a natural setup for Eugene to have a moment of intimacy with him. Believe me, she always seems to have this in her movies as of late.

The story was okay but nothing amazing. The initial setup felt a bit longer than it needed to be and some of the situations later on were beyond campy, more entering the realm of being kitschy, and in a bad way. Although to be fair, the ending didn't go quite as I expected and that was a nice surprise, especially for a local movie.

Here Comes the Bride gives me a bit more hope for local movies, but I think most of its issues were in its direction and not its writing. Chris Martinez may want to consider his priorities at this point. Thus it gets 4 lame excuses to have Tom Rodriguez to walk around shirtless out of a possible 5.

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  1. Pak!

    Loved the movie. Maybe because the humor was so campy and baklang-bakla. My friends and I feel that the movie worked because of the acting of the 5 lead actors. We even feel Angelica Panganiban shined in her portrayal as a gay guy. Maybe because she just let loose, and was just playing her naturally-bakla self.

    I even quoted a few lines of the movie in my blog:
    ...Where the Boys Are! | Lessons from Gay Bars in Manilahttp://machosandhostos.blogspot.com/2011/02/where-boys-are.html

    (No, it's not shameless plugging. Haha!)

  2. Tomato-Potato my friend, hehe.