Monday, December 27, 2010

Ang Tanging Ina Mo (Last Na 'To!)


After winning an election to become the country's president in the second installment, Ina Montecillo (Ai Ai de las Alas) is back in the household to take care of her kids for part three, until she discovers that she has a tumor in her brain and would be dying soon. Conflicts mainly revolve around Juan (Marvin Agustin) versus Tri (Carlo Aquino) and Tudis (Nikki Valdez) versus Seven (Shaina Magdayao). In this scenario Heart Evangelista as Por is sorely missed, since her clash with gay brother Pip (Alwyn Uytingco) is actually the most memorable from the first movie. Instead, Xyriel Ann Manabat  joins the cast as one of Ina's grandkids. This kid is really good. In fact she is the only new addition to the cast that actually contributes something to the comedy department. Well, Empoy is here too as Seven's fiancé, but we already know how he is utilized as a comedic character.

There have been mixed reviews leaning towards the positive, but in my case I just was not pleased. Like a gum that has lost all flavor after excessive chewing, the movie just offers the similar blend of absurdity, exaggeration, and passé humor all present in the other movies. With fewer movies to spoof, on which the first one heavily depended, this one relies particularly on the good ensemble acting to keep it afloat, although some would argue that Ai Ai and Eugene are always over the top. This, however, is understandable since their characters have been like that since the first movie.

Every character from the first movie returns except for Heart Evangelista and Edu Manzano. The other kids no longer active in showbiz at least make a cameo appearance: Ten-Ten (Yuuki Kadooka), now a teenager and barely recognizable as the deaf-mute kid from the first movie is the first one to appear; Shammy's (Jiro Manio) cameo is very very short; Cate (Serena Dalrymple) appears as a nun; Six (Marc Acueza) appears in only three scenes. Nonetheless they are still able to take one last family picture sans Por at the ending.

There is a flashback montage showing scenes from the first and second movies. The first movie in the series was shown in 2003, and since then a lot has changed in terms of the status of the cast members. Eugene Domingo is already a certified movie star now, and evidently gets more prominent billing as the best friend this time around. The showbiz careers of the kids have had their own ups and downs, with some even disappearing for good. Only seven years have passed but seeing the faces of the younger cast from first to third movie reminds you of how time flies so fast! I think this third installment is the corniest, the second the most absurd, but the first one will always be a cult classic. Everything seems to have gone downhill after that.

It is easy to predict that this one would end up as the top-grosser for this MMFF season. Cinema attendance has always been full since day one. Though getting tough competition from Si Agimat at Si Enteng, I believe that one would eventually lose steam like most Vic Sotto and Bong Revilla movies do when faced with a potent competitor. Close second would be Dalaw helmed by fellow BOQ Kris Aquino.

The film still espouses traditional family values and highlights common dilemmas that families go through. So, yes, it is still a good family movie despite its shortcomings.

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