Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Kontrabida Girl


TV villainess Isabel Reyes (Rhian Ramos) is so convincing in her soap operas that people pelt her with whatever it is they could find just to express their disdain when they run into her off-cam. She even has to hide under a pseudonym just to meet men because they (and their moms) are intimidated by her very bad reputation. Crossing the street after getting rejected in a blind date, she almost gets hit by a speeding vehicle, but is saved by a good samaritan. This random act of kindness changes her worldview for the better, which by consequence detrimentally affects her acting prowess as an antagonist. Taking a cue from the legendary Bella Flores, she goes on a vacation to find the one person who has hurt her the most in her life, so that she could bring back the angst on which her livelihood heavily relies. That person is Chris Bernal (Aljur Abrenica), her rather slow and naive childhood friend who is trying to save the family business from being foreclosed.

I guess the reason why I have given this only 2/5 is the lack of laugh out loud moment in the cinema. I came in with high expectations because I found the teasers rather funny, but after seeing the whole movie it seems that there were only two or three scenes where the audience really laughed, modestly. The rest of the time there was either just stifled laughter or indifferent silence. It is weird that way. It is not a Derramas comedy that makes people laugh out in unison over some absurd scene replete with slapstick comedy, which means it should be something good and out of the box. However, most of the jokes fall flat and most of the time the delivery seems unnatural.

Another strange thing is that the director is actually the one who directed Zombadings. That one was indie and more or less shot with less budget but turned out to be a hilariously entertaining movie despite the otherworldliness of the story. It is weird that this movie fails in that aspect in spite of dealing with a story that should really have been more relatable. Perhaps it is because of the love story which steals most of the screen time, or the lack of chemistry between the leads. Or both. They really should have just focused on the “kontrabida” herself and her line of work and gone the same way Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank did, not in terms of storytelling but rather on its style as a playful jab on the local entertainment industry. That way this could have easily become a cult classic. Instead, it ends up as a typical romantic comedy which is not really that funny.

Rhian Ramos has the looks and could practice more on the delivery but she does not seem to have the presence, or the comedic timing to pull off this role convincingly. She is actually more effective in that blooper scene where she and her PA switch roles. Again, weird, because they really do a good job in making her look feisty, but still there seems to be something lacking. Marian Rivera or Lovi Poe would have fared better and would have added some spark to the character had they been chosen instead. Rhian had a better performance in The Road, despite the shorter screen time.

Aljur Abrenica is actually good in those scenes where he is angry, which seemed natural. However, his character’s naivety here seems to have been abused to evoke laughter that the trick gets old fast and you get the feeling that they just created the character to be like that to make up for the scarcity of witty punch lines.

Pinoys love their “kontrabidas” and by that observation alone you would probably think that this movie would really be a hit. It is just too bad that the director does not capitalize on this. This could have easily been a cult classic if they played their cards right, if there were more moments of camp acting meant to criticize the rather one-dimensional characterization of villains on Philippine TV. Instead, the comedy aspect takes the backseat and is easily hindered by the contrived love story that becomes the focus of the movie after half an hour or so.

2 creature(s) gave a damn:

noreen said...

ay now ko lang nalaman ang premise ng story... cute pa naman sana! :) pero dahil sabi mo 2/5 lang, wag na lang :)

ihcahieh said...

@noreen - actually gusto ko nga sana panoorin mo para mahingan kita ng comment, HAHAHA. E kasi halos lahat ng review na nabasa ko positive. Ako hindi ko talaga na enjoy e. I was thinking maybe it was just me, but the box office figures kinda agree. Labo. HAHA. :)

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