From the poster alone, the intentions of the movie is rather incontrovertible, which is sad since the story could have been a compelling satire on the present state of the Pink Film-churning independent movie industry.
It has been 10 years since director Leonardo David’s (Paolo Rivero) last movie, and the famed director is close to getting down on his knees for a chance to work again. But luck is smiling on our protagonist. Liwayway Films' producer (Anita Linda) is forking out P400,000 for a trend-chasing film believed to turn in huge profits for the flagging company (Remember Viva Films' post-80's/90's glory when all they could produce were sex films?) The subculture community is suddenly on a whopper.
But the fun is really just starting for Direk Leo who still has to name his cast and more importantly, write his script! Publicity mill starts its wonders and soon, a riveting line-up of characters are buzzing around Leo: the effete publicist (Shalala) and his underage boytoy (Charles Delgado); the duplicitous newcomer Ryan Delfin (Guio Munoz); the despondent actor-wanna-be Raymond Sanchez (Andrew Miguel) who deliberately throws himself to Leo for a lead role; and Leo's ex-lover Lando (Kristoffer King) who once starred in each of Leo's projects, but eventually fled when the director's luck ran out! This takes Leo on a roller coaster ride that allows him to wield his wand - and will - on people.
But the anticipated arc of story telling foreshadows an eventual downfall - or tragedy. In the film, vices and abuses of industry people are boldly held up to ridicule; shortcomings of desperate souls are underlined - and we have a gaudy satire that dispenses precarious social commentary on this high-riding system that churns out gay-flavored eroticas! But - "Kailangan may girl na maghuhubad," suggests the excited publicist - to give the closeted guys an excuse to watch the film, without calling attention on their sexual preference. I couldn't say it better! ;->
However, wit is an imperative element of satire, something that is a bit wanting in the script. In fact, some situations driving the characters' motivation wallow in maudlin predictability. Let's take for example the case of newcomer Ryan who's able to snatch the lead role away from Raymond. When it was high time to do his "full frontal" shots, he balked - at the behest of his manager! I thought director Leonardo David is a seasoned pro in the business? Why does he seem too naive and too tentative to wield his authority? Logic doesn't pan out.
Andrew Miguel, aka Mike Chavez in real life, cuts a dashing, albeit bland figure on screen. When he is transfixed and caught on photographs, his profile is arresting, you would take a second glance to stare. But whenever he moves, his facial expression looks clumsy and graceless, which may somehow work for his character - the gullible cad Raymond who would stop at nothing to get what he wants. But you get the feeling that he is holding back, despite being co-lead alongside Paolo Rivero who's commendable as the gay director Leo. In fact, the most that he gets to show is his backside when this is supposed to be his film showcase.
I'd say, good for him. He may have reservations since he dabbles these days as a part-time singer (with a hit to boot: Young Men's "Mas Mahal Na Kita Ngayon"). Besides, he seems a little on the heavy side here, with extra poundage evident around his waist. The other guys in the film aren't as lucky from keeping their genitalia off the screen (Guio Munoz in his after-shower scene, Kristoffer King in a blowjob scene, and a taunting, seducing Charles Delgado opening-and-closing the door while breaking the 4th wall to jeer at his audience - as the film comes to its conclusion).
Aside from the aforementioned actors, Anita Linda gives a marvelous cameo as the revenue-hungry film producer. The scene where she "tutors" her actors how to promote their film (a really tacky, albeit side-splitting appeal for sympathy) is quite instructive and enthralling. Now that is what satire is all about in the hands of a veteran actress like Ms. Linda. Jaycee Parker is thrown in as an inconsequential straight-men's draw. She plays Andrew's invalid sister, dubiously written as an apocryphal character. And is it me or does Guio Munoz look untidy? Must be the hair - or his nail bed? The audition scenes range from crass to hilarious, men in briefs delivering common banal lines that bear words like, "Nadarang ako. Tao lang!" I get shivers every time they get repeated. This film isn't as bad as director Cleo Paglinawan's "S.R.O." but this, really, is like saying, maroon is better than fuchsia, or white is preferable from off-white. Get my drift?