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31 July 2013

Leo Abaya’s “Instant Mommy” (Review): “Real Comedy”

UPDATED: July 31, 2013
4:41 PM
"Real Comedy from a Real Comedy Director and the Real Queen of Comedy"

Of all the Cinemalaya entries in the New Breed category this year, Leo Abaya’s “Instant Mommy” will most likely be the most commercially successful.  After all, it stars the equally bankable and critically acclaimed Eugene Domingo.  The film has all the key elements that made “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank” a success. 

“Instant Mommy” is not your typical unremarkable slapstick comedy that relies heavily on artificial and condescending humor.  The comedy is realistic with the right infusion of bitterness, delusion and fantasy.  The story is a cliche in Philippine cinema. Bechayda, the sole breadwinner of her family falls in love with a foreigner. Her relationship also benefits her family financially. Regrettably, she is in danger of losing everything because of an unfortunate incident.   It will be unfair to reveal much of the story. Just watch it and enjoy. 


The beauty of this film is that Abaya took a cliche, gave it a spin and made it fresh and interesting.  Abaya did not settle for a traditional "feel good" ending but his main character is not a victim.  In the classical sense, "Instant Mommy" is a comedy because the protagonist overcomes her problems.  The film does not pretend to delve deeper into the ills of Philippine society, but it does not avoid reality either.  Perhaps, Abaya wants to prove that intelligent comedies can still reel in the audience, and comedies like "Sisterakas" may only be popular because alternatives are scarce.  Whether "Instant Mommy" will win over "Sisterakas," the answer is up to the viewers. 


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Fans of Eugene Domingo will not be disappointed.  She gave all her varied fans a little of everything.  She does her usual comedic repertoire, but she still refuses to dumb down her humor. 

“Instant Mommy” brought Domingo back to independent cinema where she often shines. Domingo is at her elements in movies like “100,” “Kimmy Dora,” “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank,” “I Do Bidoo Bidoo” and in some degree, “Tuhog.”  In contrast, she is predictable and middling in commercial films such as “Here Comes the Bride,”  “Kimmy Dora and the Temple of Kiyeme,” “Mamarazzi,” and “Wedding Tayo, Wedding Hindi,” just to name a few.  Still, even in mediocre productions, Domingo offers much more.

Above all else, Domingo is a thespian and her comedic persona is just the by-product.  Her primary focus on the character is what separates her from other comedians such as Ai Ai De Las Alas, Ruffa Mae Quintos, Sarah Geronimo, Vice Ganda and even Angelica Panganiban.

Domingo is a “character comedian.” She lets her character’s uniqueness deliver the laughter. Unless she is in mainstream films that solely shoot for cash, she does not try to be funny; instead, she highlights the quirkiness of her character and the inherent and accidental comedy in a situation.  As a result, the best Eugene Domingo characters are also the most human.

3.5/5
Director Leo Abaya was intelligent enough to allow Domingo dominate the film.  Abaya’s direction takes a back seat and his invisible hands simply guide the comedy.   A true comedic director has an eye for comedy and he knows when to direct and when to let go. 

Bottom line, I am glad Miss Eugene Domingo is back and I am thankful for Leo Abaya for escorting her return to form.  We like her in most of her films, even lackluster mainstream films, because she helps bridge the rugged terrain of independent films to the asphalt-paved manufacturing city of mainstream movies.

Go watch “Instant Mommy.” It is the antidote to the Vice Ganda/Wenn V. Deramas comedies.
________

CINEMALAYA 2013 REVIEW SERIES

NEW BREED Film Reviews
Nuwebe
* The Diplomat Hotel (watched but no review)

DIRECTORS SHOWCASE Film Reviews
* Ekstra
* Liars
* Porno
* Sana Dati   

2 comments:

  1. I think your review is only about Eugene Domingo not the film itself

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, it is. Thanks for noticing. I am not yet done with the second part of the review. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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