Monday, April 25, 2011

Pak! Pak! My Dr. Kwak!


As a form of punishment, mischievous angel Angelito (Zaijian Jaranilla) is sent down to Earth on a mission: to help quack doctor Angelo (Vic Sotto) recover his faith in God. As he lands on Earth he gets caught up in an on-going feud between Angelo and Cielo (Bea Alonzo), an antagonistic doctor who later becomes the love interest.

Vic Sotto was THE comedian for me, as a kid. His movies were all funny. Two decades later I just cannot fathom what made me think of him that way. In fact, I find Joey de Leon’s brand of humor funnier nowadays. It is the same case in this movie, he just ceased to be funny, and I do not know why. Going back to being a kid is, perhaps, where the answer lies. He has this unique charisma that somehow targets kids. Come to think of it, most of his movies cater to children, except maybe the occasional ones outside the MMFF. His movies always seem to be some sort of a family affair that the whole family could enjoy, regardless if it is corny or not. Somehow he just becomes your dad during those two hours spent inside the cinema.

It is easy to imagine how the role of the leading lady could have gone to Toni Gonzaga. The role seems to be perfect for her. Bea Alonzo’s acting prowess is not to be doubted, although she seems to be ineffective as a comedienne, perhaps owed to the fact that she is always seen doing drama. In fact, it is in the very few drama scenes in this movie where she truly shines. That confrontation scene in the car immediately comes to mind. However, it would have been more effective if she managed to project some of Gonzaga’s effortless comedic appeal, or Angelica Panganiban’s spunk. Fortunately, those few drama moments she gets to portray with utmost sincerity are enough to somehow keep you satisfied with her portrayal of the role.

The onscreen tandem of Vic and Zaijian as “father and son” is more heartfelt especially in the final moments of the movie. It is in that one scene when Vic sheds tears but it does not seem weird at all. The love angle with Bea, on the other hand, seems contrived given the age gap and the way the love story developed. This is strange because Bea has never had any problem portraying an “older” role before. Here she just seems too young, which is what the script probably demanded anyway. Perhaps the problem is with the characterization.

The only thing they got right with the CGI are the clouds, from the special effects involving them in the opening credits to that pivotal scene in the hospital chapel. The CGI animals give you a “WTF-is-this-the-90’s?” kind of vibe. Sometimes these mishaps are intentional to make the movie more comedic, but most of the time they just backfire and annoy the hell out of you. The editing is not that smooth and there are a lot of transitions that seem to have jumped out straight from a high school movie project.

Pokwang, Wally, and Jose are funny to a lot of people. I find them corny. I do not know if I am alone in this sentiment. Their humor is passé and would be more relevant in a 90’s, or perhaps, even an 80’s comedy.

My final verdict is mixed. Somehow the movie relies on the strength of its storyline to make up for the deficiencies in character and script. It looks like a Derramas comedy at first but there are some elements in it that make you think otherwise. There are some funny bits although most of the movie appears to be boring. As a family movie this could probably work, but if you are looking for a movie that would make you laugh out loud, this is not it.

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