Friday, December 29, 2023

Becky & Badette

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Bestfriends Becky (Eugene Domingo) and Badette (Pokwang) were voted most likely to succeed when they graduated from high school, but despite their own share of talents, life has not been kind to either one of them. Now middle aged and still living with their moms one floor above a gay bar, the two are hesitant to go to their class reunion knowing they have nothing to be proud of. After class bully Nirvana (Agot Isidro) convinces them to come, she hatches a plot to make fun of them at the party. Being their usual selves, the duo comes up with an impromptu skit pretending to be lesbian lovers, just for show. As the video of their fake public confession becomes a viral hit around which many lesbians decide to rally, the two BFFs are suddenly inundated with opportunities that dramatically turn their lives around. As they enjoy their new status as the country’s prime lesbian power couple, their lie stares them in the face demanding for authenticity. Will they give in?

Jesus Christ. That “Finggah Lickin” jingle just takes on a life of its own after the premise becomes clear, now doesn’t it? All the related references just had the cinema laughing out loud afterwards. I was starting to wonder how Becky & Badette beat Broken Hearts Trip for the Gender Sensitivity Award. Now, it all makes sense, and this film is indeed more deserving. While the movie seems irreverent and often pokes fun on the subject matter it is dealing with, the message still reaches the viewer loud and clear. In a film festival where LGBTQIA++ equates almost exclusively to gay storylines, it’s high time that the L finally got repped.

What message is that, you might ask? While LGBTQIA++ representation is already a given, the film actually provides a good critique of queerbaiting and the lengths people would go to nowadays all for the sake of clout, which has become the main currency that takes online content creators places. Becky & Badette also sheds light on the strange dynamics involved when it comes to society’s incessant demand for idols to represent them, and how some people capitalize on that collective demand to further their own interests, like some weird sort of socioeconomic commensalism.

People seem to have ended up just dismissing this as a mere attempt at a big screen comeback from two comedians who are no longer that visible lately. The trailer makes it clear that this’ll be the typical slapstick comedy that brought Domingo and Pokwang to the peak of their careers. Lest we forget though, Becky & Badette was penned by Jun Lana. While the guy does have a propensity for slapstick, you can rest assured that his screenplay will not let you down. With his wit still intact coupled with the rollercoaster ride of a plot, Lana offers a familiar brand of comedy that shouldn’t be enjoyable anymore but, somehow, oddly, still is.

As for the acting, Domingo is given more material to work with thanks to the twist regarding Becky’s character towards the end. The subtle change in nuances as she goes through her character arc shows you that, damn, she is showing off some serious acting chops here which would probably be overshadowed by the mere fact that this film is a comedy. Pokwang, on the contrary, still has perfect comedic timing but not given enough opportunity to showcase anything else. Isidro decides to go full-on campy, which works well with her role as the primary antagonist but comes across as nothing more than caricature.

The premise, to those who have no intention of watching, is similar to that of Dear Evan Hansen. What happens when a lie so big blows up and you are forced to stick to the lie for all the good things that it brings along while knowing quite well that its foundation will crumble once the truth is revealed. While the storyline is not that original, it gives the director many subplots to play around with, making sure that the film has few dull moments to deal with. However, the ending is quite predictable because of this, but easily forgiven thanks to the good time the movie offers.

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