Motherly Excuse

All rice... coup is now in season.

When America sneezes, the Philippines contracts pneumonia. That might be a logical way of presenting the situation of two countries experiencing the recent global crisis. But Filipinos are clever. They would rather die in laughter than suffer the inexorable dilemma we are currently facing. Filipino comedies are so in-demand and it has a higher probability to be successful in the box office. Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat is something the Filipino audience would instantly be curious about. First, the title has a strong double-entendre– Filipinos has a great deal of response to innuendos. And of course, the film will star one of our country’s best comediennes.

Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat is the sequel to the box office hit Ang Tanging Ina. Its promise of laughter is undeniable; most of it is due to the retention of certain aspects from the first film. It stars the ever-wacky, bizarre looking comedian, Ai-ai de las Alas. She has the ability to make you chortle with her cleverness in delivering comedic skits and most of the time, just by simply looking at her. Let’s say the physical appearance have played a special facet in the unique caricature of her persona. De Las Alas’ unique donkey facial intimations and her prominent chin ala Tarantino will certainly be the selling point of this film. And of course she is not totally new in the business. We have to be reminded that her TV stints and comedy concerts were phenomenal hit. Although in films it is entirely different. I hoped they sustained the laughable phase in the film and it could have worked so well.

De Las Alas stars as Ina, still a fraught widow of a dozen children. The film starts with the cortege of her recent husband. Actually we get a little dose of dues ex machina interpolation in the first film pertaining to the death of her husbands. It just weaves the story through and we start to see a parody of a TV drama wherein Ina is part of the cast wherein she gets to double the white wolf alter-ego of the lead star. It is an effective premise as comedy films gets to show a high-pitch sounding of humor the moment it starts. Nonetheless, they have succeeded by just dressing up de Las Alas in a scanty wolf suit and made her jump at the top of the building. It’s appropriate for Ina to do the stunts but definitely not the female lead or the purebred Siberian husky. It’s funny.

Her equally waggish best friend Rowena is played by Eugene Domingo. She is a great support or even a great equalizer to a great comedian. Their moments in the film are lauded by viewers mostly for their great timing and execution. Although the film’s comedic ambience subsides mostly with Ina’s rapport with her children. This started after she gets to be a star witness in the killing of the President of the Philippines. And with the twists of the story, she was elected as the President. Half of the film blurs its comedic element into something a bit tragic. I kind of wished it would end and the film would get back to where they are originally good at.

The genre that they are trying to portray is a bit quizzical on their grounds to provoke more laughter. The films get more sentimental when it reaches its climax. It is a mixture of Tearful Comedy and Bourgeois Tragedy. But when we review the history of Comedy, Bourgeois Tragedy is the outcome of Tearful Comedy. They might have forgotten to do their homework. We cannot confuse the audience for something they might have wanted in the first place. It just suggests a reason for audiences to see that despite the tragedies that are inflicted on the heroine, there is a moral triumph that will prevail.

It is not all wrong to squeeze in a bit of tragicomic appeal in films. But it might spoil the promise they have laid all along. Considering the ample amount of comedic elements in the film, they could have stuck through it all along. First, there is parody employed in the film and even in Ina’s character. She lacks the skills of being the President and has constantly used obscure quotes to direct the problems in the country. The political and social satire was used for backdrop. It simply entrenches the errors present in the Philippine Society. The slapstick element has infused the film with a pragmatic tone which maintains its retrospective charm but with an updated style.

Ang Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat has great potential to fully develop the comedic structure which we excel in, provided that they will learn from their past works or even recent ones to make a comedy of superior caliber. The story does not require to be smart in all aspects but the invention of a story that is funny requires intelligence. I hope Wenn Deramas learns many things in his Ina Series. Their strong points are now presented and hopefully they stick to it. I am hoping to laugh from beginning till the end and I would look forward into seeing this in the future. This is quite possible as I have seen de Las Alas perform in concerts and it is really entertaining.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

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