It’s a roll call: Kenneth Jimenez, Glenn Katigbak, Kenjie Samonte, Bernard Osorio, Jacko Melendrez, Reggie Chua, Mark Samonte, et.al. These were just some of the names that populate the alternate universe of GA Villafuerte’s “Id’nal (Mapusok)”. Such thoughtful provision of complete names of characters would have you thinking that this was a scholarly dissertation about troubled relationships; a thoughtful traipse on infidelity - of epic proportion; with carefully limned characters in insightfully threshed out vignettes. But such attention to detail was sadly limited to these names – nothing more! They conveniently slept through most of the film making process, occasionally waking up for the belabored and passionless sex scenes.
“God-awful” – Now there’s a compound term that appropriately befits this cinematic vomitus!
Eirik Cruz and Anton Nolasco as lovers Kenneth Jimenez and Glenn Katigbak
Blink and you'll miss their resplendent cameos! Yet each of them have individual posters for "Id'nal". Any one who didn't get a poster was a joke? :)
Kenneth (Eirik Cruz) is a college professor while Glenn (Anton Nolasco) is a med rep (a drug salesman). The two seemingly contrasting personalities nurture a relationship as they live together in absolute disharmony. While Glenn craves for Kenneth’s attention, Kenneth is dismissive and (though mild mannered and mostly conciliatory) never offers Glenn the time of the day – or night! This frustrates Glenn no end so he indulges his sexual impulses by mollycoddling with his masseur Jacko (TJ Morello) and a bevy of anonymous guys (even that guy who stopped him from jumping off a bridge, you better believe it). Kenneth, on the other hand, diligently tends to the needs of Kenjie (Orlando Sol) who’s eternally needy and indigent – kinda like what a sugar daddy does with his ward. Curiously, we don’t find any hint of romantic affection between Kenneth and Kenjie so why the clandestine rendezvous, or the you-and-me-against-mama scenario? This baffles.
Glenn gets exceedingly disheartened. Why isn’t he able to tinker Kenneth’s bells anymore? Is Kenneth getting tintinnabulated by others? Horrors! We ought to call the fireman and cool Glenn down, pronto! One day, Glenn catches Kenneth and Kenjie in tight embrace. The latter is in dire need of Kenneth’s boundless emotional appropriation: “Nag away na naman kami ni Nanay eh,” Kenjie laments, then they hug and caress each other’s trapezius muscles, not to mention that pulsating, if hypertrophied latissimus dorsi. Those darn tight, toned muscles that twitch involuntarily calm their emotional core, you know.
Upon seeing Kenneth and Kenjie snuggle, Glenn conflagrates like the spurned matron. “Ang kakapal talaga! Dito pa!” Glenn confronts the embracing couple and further adds, “Porke ba mas malaki ang titi nya kesa sa akin?” Ouch! I seriously felt sorry for Glenn. My eyes were beginning to well up! Oh heavens, help me! I didn’t know this was a 5-hanky flick! But if you've been observing Anton Nolasco’s sojourn into Pink Cinema, there’s tangible pictographic evidence (in a hundred and one shower scenes) that his appendageal attributes aren’t as modest as he makes us believe. Kenjie’s must then be a venomous cobra? Weeh!
Eirik Cruz and Anton Nolasco
Director GA Villafuerte is as confused – and pedestrian - as ever. His last film “Bahid” might as well be a masterpiece compared to this one. The story is a glorified series of narrative fragments; the strains don’t articulate in manner or form. The biggest question would be: Why do Kenneth and Glenn even bother staying together? They don’t have anything in common; they can’t converse like ordinary human beings; they don’t share even a meal together. Their coupling hails from a drugged out imagination. This might as well have a Shakespearean title: “Much Ado About Nothing”!
Eirik Cruz stars in his first cinematic salvo (His "Bunso" is yet to be screened commercially.) He surely satisfies the “artistahin” criteria unlike most Pink Film studs. He speaks well, be it English or the vernacular, but he mitigates his deliveries with careful, albeit studied elocution, giving a perception of naturalness. He succeeds in some; other times, he comes off like someone cajoling a mentally deficient individual. When he is finally given lines bearing emotional disquiet, this is where he struggles - painfully. His arms act up, flailing awkwardly to his sides and elsewhere, and his face contorts disturbingly. Noobs ought to be guided by insightful director, something that’s not in this production. Yes, Elvis has left the building! With experience and better projects, good looking Cruz just might turn out to be a reliable character actor.
Anton Nolasco, on the other hand, is scaling artistic hurdles of greater magnitude. The character of a wayward Glenn could have showcased his artistry. Unfortunately, like his director, Nolasco mistakes acting in the form of incessant frowns and interminable disgust. He’s eternally angry, even after coitus! You’d wish someone could give him a sedative so he relaxes a bit. What’s worse, when he finally confronts his lover, his effete tendencies flourish like the pink marmalades on a summery Sunday morning!
Mygz Molino (playing Kenneth’s brother Kyro) who’s prominently displayed and billed in the theatrical poster appears for 10 seconds or thereabout. Doing what? Texting and tinkering with his laptop. Then he fades into oblivion. Maybe he gets better exposure in an upcoming film called “Mestizo: A Beautiful Boy” where every guy looks grim and ashen faced; the Pinoy brothers of Edward Cullens. Maybe “Mestizo” is the Pink version of those blood suckers? Why then are they so pale? Iron deficiency anemia? Unless it isn’t blood they’re intent on sucking. J
There are several side stories that muddle the already befuddling narrative: there's Glenn's fractious "rape" by a gang of street urchins (ano yun?); Kenneth’s co-teacher Bernard (Miguel Alcantara) has daydreams (or was that a memory?) of him and Kenneth going at it. Meanwhile, one of his students make a surprising visit in school. Together, they paint the toilet err... “red”? Confused already? Don't worry! It's not you! It gets ridiculous because they could have discarded Bernard's character altogether, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. In fact, while we’re on the subject, they could have discarded THIS movie altogether too!
What’s more painful for the expectant crowd was the sanitized scenes. The production circulated the fact that this was rated X by the MTRCB. They were so proud of that! Meanwhile, the impressionable public expected genitalia galore! Did this segment of the pink public even understand what an X-rating meant? It bluntly meant that there could not be a commercial showing unless they get rid of penises! And to the half a dozen anonymous messages I received complaining about “Id’nal” – even before I reviewed it here – PLEASE direct your complaints to the production outfit! It is clear I am not in any way connected with them – heaven forbid!
Here's a funny thing about "Id'nal". In its desperate bid for promotion, they have made a hundred and one posters, utilizing every forgettable actor doing cameo in the film. Heck they even have a poster of Lloyd Khal Santos who played a doctor for 4 seconds; of Karl Tiuseco who portrayed as one of Kenneth's friends. It's too bad I wasn't in the flick or I'd have gotten my very own blushing theatrical poster! Darn!
While the story furtively seeks its conclusion, the film resorts to a “5 years later” tack. It shows Kenneth (who teaches “English proficiency” and “phonetics” – with mysterious mathematical equation and formulas written on his board – go figure!) looking the same and wearing exactly the same thick-rimmed glasses. Dorian Gray anyone? How well preserved he is, I was amazed. The camera pans to his class – and even the students in attendance were the very same faces who studied there 5 years ago! Will these students ever graduate? Or were they permanent fixtures from here to eternity? Hmmm. Maybe this was de javu? Maybe there’s English 101 in Medicine? Or Law? Or Rocket Science?