Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Moron 5 and the Crying Lady - Apropos Titling & Boy Abunda' s Skewed Thoughts

As children, Albert, Isaac, Aris, Michael Angelo and Mozart (Luis Manzano, Billy Crawford, Marvin Agustin, Martin Escudero and DJ Durano respectively) have breezed through grade school with copious difficulty for them to finish the whole term in 8, instead of 6 years. Acquiring the scholastic competence of 8 year olds, the quintet becomes close friends, growing together and bungling things in wild abandon. But instead of suffering from their stolidity, they instead wreck havoc on others: their teachers, classmates, principal, and an effete classmate who’s infatuated with Albert. In fact, this gay classmate almost got blind.

A decade later, our protagonists have grown up still hurdling their final year of high school. One day, they crashed the wedding ceremonies of Becky Pamintuan (John Lapus) and in one inadvertent sweep, they’ve outed the transsexual bride to her unassuming Japanese lover Hiroshi. The groom dies on the spot. Hence, derided Becky plots her condign retribution. Hell hath no fury like a gay man scorned! Becky then sets the quintet up for the murder of her father (a sloppily organized crime scene) that eventually threw the guys in prison. How will our quintet extricate themselves from this predicament? Will they ever find justice – when even their folks want them incarcerated? Has Becky succeeded with her implacable schemes?

In what could be one of mainstream cinema’s silliest slapstick romp, Wenn Deramas’ “Moron 5 and the Crying Lady” succeeds to bring Pinoy comedy to lower depths of cinematic mediocrity. The brains behind this cinematic faux pas ought to be reminded that idle anatomical parts have a tendency to atrophy. In this case, there is luminous proof of vacuity of cerebral functions. So I am genuinely concerned for the mental health of Wenn Deramas and his co-script writer Mel Martinez-del Rosario. Have their brains shrunk and dwindled to the size of peanuts?

The energy on display in “Moron 5” is one of fervid stamina, the lines are delivered with enough ebullience you sometimes lose yourself in the precise cadence of their comic camaraderie. In fact, talent bristles and overflows in its cast, but for DJ Durano who’s eternally ill at ease with his humor. Why he keeps getting roles in comedy is always a painful watch. But while energy isn’t lacking in “Moron 5”, it’s the narrative content that’s grossly spare and deficient. This is Wenn Deramas at his most uncircumspect. The funny bones have been left somewhere in Burkina Faso, and if you don’t know where that is, try Gaborone – the capital of Botswana, which finds its way in a life-saving quiz show at the tail end of the story.

The narrative is sprinkled with inane gags that are too silly or senseless to relate, but I shall try. Like a prison riot that started because Isaac (Crawford) feels it’s unjust to eat a pinakbet without an okra. He wants his okra bad and he wants it on his prison tray. After all, okra has been dismissed and rudely ignored in “Bahay Kubo”. While shopping for second hand items, the quintet turns to the branded items: LV for Lou Veloso; Armani Pacquiao; Zara Geronimo; Gap by Annabel (Rama) and Nadia (Montenegro). Laughing already?

In another scene, the quintet line up and distribute lines to: "Ang susunod na eksena ay may rating na SPG. Patnubay at gabay ng magulang ang kinakailangan." Since when was this dour MTRCB reminder funny? When Mike's (Escudero) father asks him: "Tumakas ka?" He replies with a horribly cheesy and effete "Whatever!" What was that?

Among the supporting players, it's Jon Santos who plays his part to the hilt. Jon Santos mischievously essays Luis' mom Vilma Santos impersonating the Batangas Governor with moxie: "Are you sure you are ok alright? I am glad you're alright ok, son!" While he was rallying for Luis during the final duel, Santos goes all out with his Vilmaisms: "Si Val, si Val na walang malay!" Then he shouts: "My son is not a pig!" When reminded that it wasn't his line, he composes himself and quips, "Ay, sa kumare ko pala yun!" then continues with "Ding, ang bato!" You can't help but laugh at Santos' irreverence! He also underlines the hit-and-miss character of the film's humor.

Luis Manzano has found his footing in Deramas’ comedy thus he appears comfortable and watchable despite the puerile scenes he’s had to endure. He enjoys easy chemistry with Billy Crawford who appears too hefty, his flabby, protruding abdomen juts out like a Helium-full pillow. And he’s going to make his European comeback looking this pudgy? You just wonder. Marvin Agustin, while expectedly competent, seems misplaced in the company of his younger co-stars. In fact, this line up is as discrepant where age is concerned, you wouldn’t believe they were all in the same class together – unless there was an alternate universe, of course. Martin Escudero coasts on his past triumphs, intermittently interchanging his Michael Angelo character with his Remington (in “Zombadings”). This doesn’t bode well for a young upstart because we start to wonder if his earlier thespic success was indeed a “fluke”.

Clockwise from top left: Luis Manzano, Billy Crawford, DJ Durano, Martin Escudero, Marvin Agustin

John Lapus: made it tolerable.

John Lapus works hard as the vindictive Becky Pamintuan. In fact, he made this experience a tad more tolerable, but not by much. As the transsexual Becky, his turn has thrown the issue of transsexuals entering the Miss Universe pageant to the fore. More than ever, his scenes make it palpably choleric. Is it really enough that she was born with the "emotions of a woman trapped in a man's body" to make him a genuine member of the fairer sex? Whether his sexual orientation is that of one, his original anatomical make up will never make him a woman.


And let me digress. When Boy Abunda took it upon himself to vigorously expound and lecture on sexual re-assignments, gender identifications and orientations (as though he’s the only enlightened one about these topics) in last Sunday’s “The Buzz”, we found it unethical to actually impose his crooked thoughts on his audience. Moreover, it was disrespectful to the Binibining Pilipinas winners to have to ask their opinion about this matter when they knew his (and LGBT’s) stand on the issue. You do not refute the host of a show or you risk his good grace. That's common sense.

So Mr. Abunda, while you offered a disclaimer that your thoughts are not an imposition, lecturing about sexual orientation and gender identification left a bitter taste in the mouth. It was rude and your points were a fallacious clutter of gibberish desperation.

Women have become presidents, black people who used to be sold in plazas have become Presidents of countries, and the UP Student Council President is a transsexual,” he emphasized. Stacking dissimilar milestones in maudlin fashion doesn't make a wrong point right! He espouses on equality and gets an off tangent notion that transsexuals should be conveniently equal, thus similar, to women? Gender classifications and sexual orientations have acquired a new age criteria, and these have become acceptable. There are men, there are women and there are homosexuals.


But to say that men who have had gender re-assignments by way of an invasive procedure essentially become 100% females – thus should be eligible for a contest like Miss Universe – is just plain ludicrous. There are contests for men. Should we allow women then in Mr. Universe contests for the sake of equality? There are contests for gays. What should stop women from entering them if gays were allowed in women-only pageants? Proper things in proper places.


It is an affront to the real females who possess a different internal make up: women have uterus, a pair of Fallopian tubes and ovaries, a cervix and a real vagina. Mr. Abunda wants to fit an oblong in square pegs. He lectures on national TV that squares and triangles and oblongs should be equal when, clearly, there's a reason why shapes are different from each other. The nerve, really. While I welcome liberal ideologies, ridiculous, albeit absurd liberties such as his should be declared as such. He postures as if he’s the only cognitive being when clearly, his motives are skewed. Why does ABS CBN allow this abominable practice? It was annoying!

How abominable? Try watching Wenn Deramas’ “Moron 5 and the Crying Lady”. That is how!

Posturing as LGBT's intellectual voice - a LADLAD representative in the future? Boy Abunda is so smart he lectures on national
TV about gender reassignments and sexual orientation. You see, he's the only enlightened one.

Jenna Talackova, a 23 year old transexual who had her gender reassignment surgery at the age of 19 - wants to be part of Miss Universe pageant.


PISARA.me said...

Hey I love this review. And I see you reviewed My Naughty Kid too. Buti na lang hindi mainstream yan; I can skip it. :-)

And I agree with the Boy Abunda bit. Buti na lang I don't watch him. I even avoided Bandila when he joined.

Cathy Pena said...


Thanks. I like Bandila too. In fact I prefer it over other news programs within the primetime and late primetime schedule. I think showbiz news, while interesting, should never be clumped alongside hard news. Even beginner's journalism has taught that. Abunda's inclusion in Bandila has debased and devalued the program and highlights a desperate act. He even imposes his opinions of matters that don't concern his realm.

Abunda tries to proselytize about his fantasies; i.e. that in a netherworld, he could be considered a "woman" but that just isn't right! Let's call a spade a spade; and clearly, a rose as a rose. A man is a man unless he's attracted to another man, then he is a homosexual (and even a bisexual alluding to its variants). That doesn't change his gender: he is still a man!

A court order that officially declares him a woman after a gender reassignment surgery (in countries like Belgium, Netherland, Canada or some American States) may publicly accept him a "woman" but that doesn't make him the real deal either!

Using a family-oriented show like "The Buzz" as a vehicle to move his political agenda in the silliest manner is a slap on the face of its viewers!

Yadu Karu said...

good point ;-)

Cathy Pena said...


Anonymous said...

I am going to make a sweeping statement here:

Friends of kris aquino live in a bubble, where reason doesn't exist and they're at the center of that universe.

-leon, not friends with kris aquino

Cathy Pena said...

@ Leon Not Friends With Kris Aquino:

How utterly apropos! Yes, Boy Abunda and friends are so in love with themselves and their thoughts, they couldn't be wrong - in their own indulgent universe! :)

Love that!

- from Catherine, not friends with Kris Aquino

Pinakbet said...

is that a nice movie?

Cathy Pena said...

No. :)