Friday, December 30, 2011

My Househusband: Ikaw Na!


Rod (Ryan Agoncillo) gets a threat of demotion brought about by a planned merger at the bank where he works. Prodded by ego and pride, he decides to call it quits, but would not tell his wife Mia (Judy Ann Santos) until he comes up with an acceptable solution, which does not happen. She eventually accepts a job offer and becomes the bread winner of the family. He, on the other hand, becomes the de facto “househusband”, enduring gossips, intrigues, and intrusive neighbour Aida (Eugene Domingo), the kept woman of a dirty old man, along the way.

People might find this movie boring, thus the lag in good box office returns. Devoid of any fantasy element, this is probably the only film in the festival that hits closest to home. The trailer suggests that it is a slapstick comedy, or as my brother would say, “Ano yun, Looney Tunes?” watching a sequence where Ryan hurriedly exits a grocery store after a whistle and gesture of authority from Juday, not to mention the “Macho Man” soundtrack that makes everything seem corny. Do not be fooled. This movie is really a family drama with a lot of funny bits, and by “funny” we mean the good kind of funny and not the slapstick one where the characters do something stupid while “funny” sound effects play in the background.

Eugene plays the “kalog” mistress who is easily at home and treats everyone with casual frankness and tactlessness easily mistaken for promiscuity. Despite this you would notice that the portrayal is not that exaggerated. In fact you might know someone, a friend or a relative perhaps, who behaves the same way. She is just a supporting character here and it is cool that it remains that way because she does not upstage the couple as the leads of the movie. Hers is the role of a good friend with a not so ideal life, but the character serves its purpose while bringing some unsolicited laughs along the way.

Ryan and Judy Ann need not convince anyone that they have chemistry. They are husband and wife both on-cam and off-cam anyway. Perhaps this helps in the way the characters are viewed, in making them believable, although it could be attributed more to their acting skills rather than their legal status as real life spouses. Besides, it is hard to believe that they would be having the same problems in real life such as disconnection notices from Meralco or threats of unemployment. Here they make you believe that they are indeed experiencing such problems, typical middle class family dilemmas. Their team-up as partners is laudable and very optimistic, what with the joke that marriage is nowadays.

Lately it does not come as a shock anymore when a couple heads to Splitville, as if it is what is really expected: that it is normal for marriage to have an expiration date. It is no longer as ideal as it used to be. In this film, however, they show you that it is not the case, and while it seems to be the norm lately it does not necessarily mean that you have to follow suit. Maybe this is also the disadvantage this film has. There would surely be that married someone who decided to go to the movies to temporarily forget his/her domestic life in exchange for two hours of escapism. In this year’s festival there are many choices, but this movie is not one of them, because this is not an escapist presentation, but rather more of a “documentary” where the characters, instead of fleeing from their problems, actually band together and face them. If you belong in that segment of the population you might just say, “Shit! This is what I’m actually escaping from at home!” You might be better off seeing an antique dealer endure a choke hold before getting tossed into a pool. Now, that is escapist entertainment for you.

What about Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow? It is like the version for the rich. First world problems, you know. But that one still feels like a soap opera because of the many characters you would have to sympathize with. This movie, on the contrary, only focuses on the couple, with occasional participation from Eugene Domingo when things start to get dragging. And is it not that way in real life? Sure you would be starring in the soap operas of the people around you, but the one to which you would be most subscribed would definitely be your own and your immediate family's. And that is what makes it easy for one to quickly relate to this film, because at first you might think that it is a film about Rod and Mia, but in the end you will realize that it was actually about you, too.

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