A Troubled Duo

Aging Chef

Okay I admit it, I laughed, and worse, I laughed twice. First, when Dolphy was defecating, second, at the hoarse laugh of the person seated in front of me. Dobol Trobol would be your average dumb film modernized with special effects. It’s not really a bad film: It’s a light comedy! A good technique though to appreciate this film: Leave your brains somewhere and revive it after.

The film is almost two and a half hours long and thank heavens; it abstained from the usual song and dance number. You know the customary extravaganza at the beach, in the park, or wherever. That’s a good deal for me and mind you, it’s a risk on their part. A certain crowd loves those sequences.

Dobol Trobol is about Macario, an aging chef/security officer in an exclusive resort. He is played by Dolphy Quizon. Flashback, Macario left his home due to frustration from his nagging wife, Gabriela (Carmi Martin). With the help of his best friend, he stayed at his resort to be a chef. Along came Arthur who is played by Vic Sotto. He joins a gang hoping for a job. But to his surprise, it’s a job set for robbery. The entire sequence is odd. Imagine a businessman in full professional attire, holding an attaché case. He walks out of a grill restaurant, not even a bank, being eyed for robbery by a gang. Suddenly, just like any other superhero, Arthur rescued the businessman against the thieves. Then he offered Arthur a job in the resort as a security guard. If you hated this premise, then you might have brought your brain.

When Arthur arrived in the resort, he was mistaken as a guest by Mac. Arthur took advantage of the situation, asking for incredible demands. Mac was furious upon realizing that Arthur is a fellow worker. Worse, they will share one room. Then the rumble begins.

Slapstick and burlesque were apparent comedic devices utilized in Dobol Trobol. They were predictable choices as these were easy tools in extracting laughter from a weary audience. And there were lot of these “devices” in the film. When Arthur can’t sleep due to Mac’s snoring, he did his unusual modus operandi to put an end to it. He made use of clips, handkerchiefs and even coins. The rest was like a cat-mouse chase scenario. They had their own share of revenge; from a porridge that causes constipation, to scheming with bull ants (yes talking insects), and switching toothpaste to adhesive along with other outrageous mishaps. You name it, they got it. I bet Quizon and Sotto were much involved in the conceptualization. They would certainly do stupid things just to please the audience and they’re veritably proud of it! But they had a hard time on this one though. The lead actors, no matter how experienced, looked sluggish and distraught. But by default, actors are not the only one responsible; rather it is also the director as well as the writers that should take blame. In fact, Dobol Trobol was barely written. Scripts were scratched for adlibs and gay slang. Quizon looks awkward in speaking such lingo.

In the middle of the story, Bonifacia (Riza Santos), Macario’s daughter arrived from the United States. Bonnie wanted to fix their family dispute so she headed immediately to the resort where his father, Macario, works. Her beauty captured Arthur’s heart. Bonnie will be celebrating her birthday and she wants her father to attend her party.

The storyline has a huge potential for a comedy. Luckily it was not a total failure. The prime weakness might be the direction. How could the pair of the Comedy King and the Prince of Comedy be wrong? I sensed a good chemistry in their tandem. The minimalist style of both comedians made the usual slapstick modern and pragmatic. Compared to Charlie Chaplin, which I am a big fan, you see his style is more amplified and over the top. His gags were done with a lot more endeavor corroborated with precision. And it is indeed entertaining. For Quizon and Sotto, they are more reserved but still manage to keep the audience amused, but not all the time. In these perspectives, they almost failed to meet the two primary requirements of slapstick: exquisite timing and skillful execution. Some might mistake it for a rotten parody of time-honored comedy films that Chaplin did or any other old-school comedian. But in essence, slapstick and burlesque are highly regarded comedic styles. It’s neither outdated nor rubbish. These actor/comedians crafted these styles to their sensibilities. But they still need a lot of improvement and further guidance to make their tandem enthralling and avoid too much confusion. The chemistry is there. Comedy is still alive. But it lacks vision.

Dobol Trobol is not made to be a magnum opus. It’s not intelligently written and executed. But you got to use your common sense. I used mine. In effect, it got me a couple of laughs. And I was able to revive my brain at the end of the movie.

Charlie Koon's Rating:
• The shooting location was at Canyon Woods, Tagaytay City.
• Zsa Zsa Padilla and Pia Guanio have a special participation in the film. They are the real life sweethearts of Dolphy and Vic Sotto.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails