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Metro Manila Film Festival 2020: Tone deaf

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A SCENE from the movie Pakboys: Takusa

By Zsarlene B. Chua, Senior Reporter

MOVIE REVIEW
Pakboys: Takusa
Directed by Al Tantay

EVEN before Al Tantay’s Pakboys: Takusa actually landed on the Upstream streaming service as an entry in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, the trailer had already created a furor online for including a joke about transgender people. This led to several LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, etc.) groups to petition the festival to remove the film because of its offensive portrayal of transgenders.

Honestly, Pakboys’ treatment of transgenders is just one of many reasons this writer thinks that this movie, full of sexist and tired comedic tropes, has no place in 2020.

But what was the story — and the joke — about? The short of it is that four friends (played by Janno Gibs, Andrew E., Gerald Napoles, and Dennis Padilla) have fun trying to hide their extramarital affairs from their suspicious wives (played by Angelou de Leon, Ana Roces, Maui Taylor, and Marissa Sanchez) while making it look like it’s their wives that cause problems by being too suspicious.

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The offensive joke comes 10 minutes in when Padilla’s character wakes up next to a woman who is not his wife in his bed and while washing up, discovers that the woman is a transgender which elicits horror from Mr. Padilla. It was tired and disgusting and it shouldn’t be comedy fodder.

The story’s summary says that the guys messed with the girlfriend of a gang member, are captured, and it’s up to their wives to save them. But three-fourths of the film’s two-hour run (!!!) is all about the men running circles around their wives and making them feel stupid.

Apparently, in this film’s world, all men are cheaters and the women are jealous and possessive, and it’s the men who are in a sorry position. Cheating is apparently allowed and normal as long the men continue to profess that they love their wives.

There’s no reason why a film like this should exist at a time when there’s a reckoning and recognition of the plight of LGBTQ and women.

This writer would have found it acceptable if the film had been framed as satire because no matter how poorly presented, satires assume that their audience are smart enough to understand what is really being made fun of. But Pakboys: Takusa went the unfortunate and frustrating route of thinking that the audience is so stupid and socially unaware as to still accept this kind of comedy and still think it’s okay. It’s not.

I needed a nap after the film.

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