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04 September 2014

Chris Martinez's "The Gifted" (Film Review): "Fake Never Looked So Good"

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“The Gifted” begins with stereotypes, fills the middle with more stereotypes, and ends it with stereotypes, then the film cleverly pulls the rag underneath you just when you least expected it. Boom! I love it. And that is saying much because I began hating the film after just fifteen minutes of watching it. Anne Curtis campy performance kept me interested in the middle of the film, but in the end, writer and director Chris Martinez delivered his coup de grace.

To reveal much of the plot is to take away the pleasure of watching it. My only advice is to stay in your seat even after the credits start to roll, otherwise you will miss the best part. Leaving early is like “doing” it and running off before you climax.

There is nothing groundbreaking about the film. In fact, it is kind of a rip-off of Robert Zemeckis’ “Death Becomes Her.”  The plot is typical and predictable: two beautiful women fighting over a dim-witted handsome stud who cannot control his hormones. The two female characters constantly behave like cats in heat devoid of any common sense, foregoing intellect for the sake of bagging the big prize. The female leads are classic over the top campy girls, and the quintessential nightmare for all feminists.   

The film also hurls clichés at the audience one after another, but once you think you had enough, and in the case of some viewers, enjoyed much of the clichés, director Martinez figuratively slaps you in the face, just in time before you go home believing that his movie is purely created for fun.

“The Gifted” surprised me, and it is perhaps one of the best comedies of the year.  The film is far superior to “No Other Woman,” the soon-to-be campy classic, which also stars Christine Reyes and Anne Curtis. However, if “No Other Woman” was originally intended as a melodramatic bitch-fest but was luckily redeemed by its inadvertent campy-ness and hilarity, “The Gifted” is obviously a comedy. And as you watch it, the film seems to be headed to a critical epic fail but that is what Martinez wants you to think.

“The Gifted” is a good joke and a critique of Philippine melodrama but Martinez delivers both with the Queen of Camp in her campy best.

Watch it and have fun.

Watch as Dottie, the Critic
discusses Anne Curtis in
"No Other Woman"

Christine Reyes’ performance is better than her performance in “No Other Woman.”  Regarding Sam Milby, he ran a gamut of emotions from A to sometimes B, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker’s line.

However, the real Queen of the film is Anne Curtis, who actually just rehashes her “No Other Woman” persona. Nevertheless, in this film, her character is allowed to shine in her campy glory.  Anne plays the most scintillating devil who unapologetically plays with mere mortals with little remorse.  Her character and performance is so fake that she shines. If she had played her part seriously and authentically, Curtis would have failed as an actress because her character was written as fake, even the obviously fake prosthetics work. Therefore, every trite, superficial and fake element that Curtis and Martinez concocted in this film is intended and nicely executed.

Once again, Curtis is at her elements when she is being bad. I said it before, and I will say it again, Curtis deserves better films for her acting talent. She needs a “Black Swan.”


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