Aug 5, 2011

[Movies] Kimmy Dora (2009)

A recently renewed interest in Eugene Domingo has led me on a merry adventure of exploring cinema. As expected, the movies have been an odd mix of the hilarious, the horrible and all the infinite degrees of absurdity in-between. While I don't doubt her talent as an actress and a comedian / impersonator, I still question the direction our studios prefer to take with movies and probably just how little they think of Filipino audiences at time. Then again, this treatment of movies isn't necessarily unique to the country but is merely my assessment of the local movie environment in particular.

But then sometimes the relative "stupidity" (for lack of a better term) just works for me and manages to cut back my usual intellectual barriers. Good comedies are like that - the ones that make you laugh even though you have no logical reason to do so. And as your brain rebels and tries to figure out just what is triggering such a strong emotional reaction, the rest of you just gets to enjoy the ride, for what it's worth.

This movie was like that - initially I think I had one eyebrow permanently up as I tried to dissect the movie. But then it managed to slip past my defenses and genuinely made me enjoy the darn thing. And for that I definitely have to give credit to the folks behind this movie.

Kimmy Dora (sometimes tagged with "Kambal sa Kiyeme") is a 2009 Filipino comedy movie directed by Joyce Bernal with a screenplay written by Chris Martinez. Distribution was through Spring Films and Star Cinema.

The movie centers our two sisters who happen to be identical twins with very different personalities. Kimmy Go Dong Hae is your smart and career-driven woman who won't let anything stand in her way. Dora Go Dong Hae is the sweet, friendly and less than intelligent who is implied to be somewhat autistic / retarded due to an accident early on in life. Naturally Eugene Domingo plays both sisters. While Kimmy is all set to inherit their father's commercial empire, she remains envious of her sister Dora since she has somehow captured the attention (and affections) of Johnson (Dingdong Dantes), one of the managers at the Go Dong Hae Corporation.

When their father Luisito Go Dong Hae (Ariel Ureta) suffers a major heart attack, it is revealed that it is actually Dora and not Kimmy who is fated to inherit the majority stake in the company. This infuriates Kimmy and together with her lawyer Harry (Baron Geisler), they devise a plan to take Dora out of the picture so that she can inherit the company instead. But one thing leads to another and the plan backfires - leaving Kimmy lost in the provinces with a farmer named Barry (Zanjoe Marudo) while her sister Dora is forced to pretend to be Kimmy to keep things running smoothly in the company.

Now the movie's plot centers around the classic Twin Switch trope, they manage to play with it rather well. Since we end up having twins eventually playing each other and yet they're played by the same person in real life, this does offer some potential. At first I expected that Kimmy-playing-Dora would be exactly like Dora-being-Dora, but that wasn't the case. In fact, Kimmy-playing-Dora really did feel like a crude impersonation attempt of her sister and the same goes for Dora-playing-Kimmy. And for this, major kudos needs to go out to Eugene Domingo through and through.

It's funny who the filmmakers see it fit to pair her off with stereotypically "hunky" leading men. It does provide instant comedic value since Eugene is, well, not your typical young and buxom leading lady. And I'm sure casting popular actors who tend to look better shirtless helps with ticket sales. But of course in the acting department they were pretty much irrelevant. Dingdong had a few speaking lines, but then I didn't really care for him. Zanjoe had even less to do and really didn't register with me. Both just aren't my type, I suppose. And I mean this both physically and as actors.

The story did go through some rather interesting twists and turns (along with a number of cliched ones). I loved how the big "plan" against Dora came about - it's too hilarious for me to spoil for those of you who haven't seen the movie just yet. And the eventual climax was pretty rewarding, even if rather campy at some points. And I liked the final resolution - it could have just gone back to status quo but at least they made a modest effort to go in a slightly different direction.

If anything, I retain full confidence in Chris Martinez as a writer - the dialog is pretty amazing and I'm sure that's not all ad-libbed no matter how good Eugene Domingo is. If anything, Martinez's work best shines when he's not distracted with the directing role, at least based on the few movies of his that I've seen thus far.

On the whole, Kimmy Dora surprised me with how much I enjoyed it and how often I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of the situations. It gets 4 crazy impersonations done by the "sisters" out of a possible 5.

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