Arts & Leisure


Metro Manila Film Festival 2011: Getting exactly what you expect

Posted on December 29, 2011

IF ONE was asked to guess which film would be this year’s top grosser at the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), he would likely say it’s predictable -- comedy/fantasy movie Enteng ng Ina Mo.

(BusinessWorld is coming out with a series of reviews of the Metro Manila Film Festival movies throughout the week.)

Enteng ng Ina Mo
Directed by Tony Y. Reyes
Star Cinema/ APT Entertainment/
M-Zet Films

As one man said as he exited the theater, the movie has all the elements of a typical Filipino comedy: lines lifted from unintentionally funny Pinoy melodramas, punchlines that make you laugh your ass-off, some bad singing, and a straightforward plot.

Veteran comics Ai-Ai delas Alas and Vic Sotto teamed up for this movie mash-up of two successful film franchises, the Ina Mo series and the OK Ka Fairy Ko series.

Ms. Delas Alas once again takes the role of widowed mother Ina Montecillo -- a character she had played in three other films, including in last year’s Tanging Ina Mo Rin (Last Na ‘To) for which she won MMFF’s Best Actress Award. Meanwhile, Mr. Sotto returns as family man Enteng Kabisote, which he has been portraying since TV-series Okay Ka Fairy Ko debuted in the late 1980s.

The movie starts with Enteng wanting to put an end to his recurring role as the hero of Engkantasya (fairyland) and live a normal life with his family. On the other hand, Ina longs for the right partner to be with her for the rest of her life.

One day, Enteng is placed under a powerful spell by Engkantasya’s evil fairy Satana (Amy Perez) -- he will fall in love with a woman other than his wife. When Enteng meets Ina, he strenuously courts her. Ina, on the other hand, slowly opens her heart to this new opportunity for love.

It comes as no surprise -- thus this is not really a spoiler -- that in the end, good triumphs over evil, the Enteng and Ina’s respective families stay intact and they all lived happily ever... until the next sequel.

Enteng ng Ina Mo could have been a better film if it weren’t so poorly edited. The scenes in Engkantasya and those showing the family lives of Ina and Enteng were put together on screen so sloppily that at one point the viewer would have thought he was watching three different movies at the same time.

The film, however, is saved by the original Tanging Ina series’ cast who all gave good performances. Award-winning actress Eugene Domingo again effortlessly played Ina’s crazy, loud best friend Rowena. Ms. Delas Alas, for her part, gave another solid comedic performance. The two comediennes’ timing is laudable. They, as expected, manage to deliver the movie’s best line just before the viewer cringes from yet another badly edited scene.

Ina’s children and grandchildren (played well by Marvin Agustin, Nikki Valdez, Alwyn Uytingco, Carlo Aquino and Xyriel Manabat) were also candidly funny and memorable, proving that there are no small roles but only small actors.

Enteng ng Ina Mo does try to raise social issues like the Filipino’s take on evolving gender roles, the importance of family relations, and the tolerance (not acceptance) of the gay community at large. Sadly, the screenwriters seemed to have lost it at some point.

Given a bland plot, poor effects and editing, one can’t help but ask why the movie is faring well at the box-office? And, probably, the only reason is that Enteng ng Ina Mo is what you expect it to be.

The Filipino moviegoer, whose life has been filled with uncertainties, wants some assurance. With Enteng ng Ina Mo, he goes to the cinema just expecting a few good laughs and leaves with those expectations fulfilled.

Now, is it really that bad?