When Cedes’ husband succumbs to lung cancer, she is left with three sons Daniel (Anton Nolasco), Rodel (Josh Patrick) and Carlo (Walter Navarro); and an eccentric nephew Sam (Jersey Milano). More importantly, her finances are nil. Daniel and Rodel had to quit school while their mother (Carla Varga) is finding ways to earn a living. On the side, Daniel is forced into concupiscent tricks to help out with the grieving family’s escalating bills. But a year after their father’s death, Pablo (Martin Cortes), a relatively young auto mechanic, is pursuing the middle aged widow. But to Cedes’ sons, the arrangement feels spurious. After all, Pablo is just Daniel’s age. And Cedes is “nearing forty” (I was sure it was 50s).
The mismatched couple eventually “gets married” despite Cedes’ wards’ defiant protests. But something about Tiyo Pablo, the young uncle, unnerves the boys. He sneaks in the middle of the night peeping from doors while Daniel gets lost in the reverie of his refreshing shower. And Sam catches him en flagrante delicto.
Was the misbehaving uncle simply caught in a frivolous moment? Would he overstep more boundaries? What happens when he finds himself inside the sleeping boys’ room?
If you think the people, the places, and the narrative arc seem familiar, it’s because this “work” comes from the same people who shamelessly brought us the baffling “Masikip sa Tatlo”. Even the visual affectations are similar: you find Anton Nolasco soaping away in the bathroom while the camera pans his backside – twice! – and that’s been done before in “Masikip sa Tatlo”. Though director Edz Espiritu is just on his sophomore effort, he has unfortunately run out of fresh ideas to share. He echoes himself with redundant themes of forbidden love, replete with dissonant sound played throughout the story like suggestions of an impending doom.
Once again, there’s discordance not just of situations, but of text as well. Cedes, the mother, is quick to suggest that his sons stop schooling due to their tight finances, but she’s adamant in renting out the extra room in their house. She reasons, “Baka di pumayag ang asawa ko,” who, by the way, has been buried 6 feet below the ground. She would rather sell turon and kuchinta around town than take in an income-generating boarder. In another scene, after a hot day out with the boys, Cedes sits at the living room chair and tells Sam, “Linisin mo na ang sarili.” Like he’s some inanimate object, or a robot maybe. I dunno about you, but normal conversation would say, “Maligo ka na.” Another scene: While Daniel bathes (again), Tiyo Pablo suddenly barges inside to borrow soap. Though it has been established that Pablo has a sour relationship with Cedes’ irate sons, when Pablo grabs Daniel’s joystick, the latter doesn’t even turn away. How convenient, right? In another blood curdling bed scene between Cedes and her young hubby Pablo, we see the wrinkly cougar slithering away in orgasmic bliss – bejeweled, fully clothed and fully made up while her consort sports a bulging briefs and nothing else.
I am not exactly sure why these obvious kinks aren’t ironed out. There are several things worth trying to avoid problems like these. A story conference, a discussion of the narrative, will easily tune up the awkward segments – and it won’t even cost a thing! An hour of discussion helps a lot! And I do seriously suggest that these floundering script writers and directors do this basic step. Stop being high and mighty when you’re planning on getting your work exhibited in commercial theaters. Do not punish your audience with these insipid, remediable mistakes that will ultimately reflect on your weaknesses. To be fair about it, “Tiyo Pablo” is a technically “cleaner” work than the annoying “Masikip sa Tatlo”. But it’s still immoral to practice your diddly film making skills on a paying audience.
It's just not right!