Friday, December 23, 2011

Rad Francisco's Playmates - On Finding Utopia From Orgy

On their third month as a couple, Matty (JT de Guzman) and Lawrence (Florence Andrei) decide to test their relationship by inviting Matty’s former lover, Borg (Cyrus Fernandez), a law graduate preparing for the bar exams, for dinner. But Borg arrives with his new lover Andrei (Andrew Aquino). Midway into Matty’s sumptuous dinner, the new pairs start a game of one-upmanship. One couple will embark on an Asian cruise; the other has tickets for Beyonce’s concert. This briskly escalates into a confrontation between former lovers Matty and Borg, each one throwing accusations at the other.
From here on, each pair goes their own way to cool down, eventually leading to their concupiscent comeuppance. Were you surprised? Sometime later, each guy miraculously hooks up with a different partner. Inspiring train of events. Wait, we aren’t done. We find the two couples playing spin the bottle, or rather – “spin and strip”. This leads to an awkward ménage a quatre – yes, honey, an orgy - that has each guy stripping down to their briefs, and off them, then gingerly crossing their legs when the camera pans right in front. Genital warts, perhaps?

JT de Guzman and Florence Andrei as lovers Matty and Lawrence

It’s almost a superfluous endeavor to box this narrative in actual text work because we are aware of the sole motive of this production. It isn’t to tell an interesting story that hasn’t been told. It’s to get these lean-and-mean bodies cavorting with each other in front of the camera. Forget the story; a legible plot is an idiot’s frippery, right? Pink films don’t have to tell stories anymore. Crisaldo Pablo and his cohorts made sure of that. Logic has long been discarded as criteria of a pink film production. So we end up with Rad Francisco’s Playmates” successfully fielding his movie for a spectacular commercial run (much like Han Salazar's "4some" which is running on its 12th day – and counting)! How long did it take Arevalo-Ramos-Roxas’Ganap na Babae” (Garden of Eve) to be shown in Robinson’s Galleria? Zero. Robinson's management didn’t like the opening scene of someone fetching water for half a minute. The vagaries of ignorance… LOL
The movie divides its storytelling into abecedarian chapters, I’m tickled pink everytime the chapter titles appear: Ang Laro nina Matty at Lawrence, Ang Laro nina Borg at Andrei, Ang Laro ng Apat na Puso, Ang Laro ng mga Pusong Nasasaktan, Ang Laro ng mga Dating Nagmamahalan, Ang Laro ng mga Bagong Pag-Ibig, Ang Laro Pagkatapos ng Silakbo. Got too much inspiration from Joselito Altarejos? “Ang Laro sa Buhay ni Juan,” anyone? Within all these baffling “games” are scenes of sexual whimsy partaking round-robin couplings. And it’s just unfortunate that at one of the scenes, I saw someone wearing an incandescent yellow green briefs too. If there was power outage, there would be a floating crotch moving in stark darkness. It’s petrifying!

Cyrus Fernandez and Andrew Aquino as lovers Borg and Andrei

Not only were these chapter titles exasperating, not to mention elementary. Scenes were likewise peppered with random close-up shots of objects that aren’t related to the story: door knobs, street lights, cracks on the wall, a clock, a flight of stair, a dripping faucet, a microphone... a rattan-made bag? Eh? I was in fact closer to solving the mystery of England’s Stonehenge than that of Director Francisco’s aimless close-ups.
Then there are mind-blowing musings from Matty’s point of view. “Ang relasyon ay tulad ng pagkain. Hinahanda ito nang may pagmamahal. Hindi dapat paglaruan.” Then the voice over continues: “Ito na ba ang huling agahan?” Move over, Last Supper. Here’s the Last Breakfast! There’s more: “Masarap pala ang maglaro. Nakakalimutan ang tama at mali. Sa paglalaro naming ‘yon, ang lahat ay pantay pantay.” Imagine discovering Utopia from an orgy.
Who can’t be impressed by such visionary thoughts?

Spin the bottle turns into a stripping game, the only time they weren't bickering!

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