Monday, April 30, 2012

Paul Singh Cudail's Maligalig - Redundant and Stupefying

Ricardo (Ross Uy) is a punctilious son who dutifully helps out with his impoverished family’s needs. But the town of Alitagtag isn’t a solicitous environment for a young strapping lad like this baby faced protagonist. His lazy, unemployed father is a vicious gambler who wagers on money he doesn’t have. With debts piling up, Ricardo’s father is soon dodging equally miscreant collectors and the people he owe money to. One day, during an altercation with his wife (she refuses to hand him her savings allotted for paying bills), he accidentally stabs her dead. He makes a run from the crime scene. Ricardo comes home and finds his mother (Beth Coronel) slain. While attempting to remove the knife from his mother’s chest, a neighbor enters the scene screaming, “Bakit mo pinatay ang nanay mo?” This time, it was Ricardo’s turn for a hasty skedaddle. Meanwhile, the runaway father gets runover by a speeding truck. And there goes the solitary witness of Ricardo’s innocence.
As an acute stress response, Ricardo’s psyche is shaken. The dazed romeo aimlessly scampers off like a sprint prince until he reaches Manila! If you were to consider Alitagtag’s distance from the fringes of Manila, you have before you a hefty 79.6 kilometers (almost 50 miles). Quite a feat, if you ask me. Was he gunning for a world record? I wonder. Because he apparently finished this admirable feat within 24 hours. Heck, it wasn’t even sundown yet when Dondie (Dustin Jose) finds Ricardo’s body spread unconsciously down the ground. Why would he consciously help the poor soul? Maybe it’s because this unfortunate lad has flawless Olay-cured skin? Who knows, right?

 Dondie meanwhile runs a losing travel agency (well, he never shows up for work, that should be a hint). His wife recently abandoned him. He is left with his teenage son Junjun who’s baffled by his parent’s separation. It would soon come to light. Dondie has acquired the habit of enjoying his occasional bootie calls. He would invite a guy over (Jake Galleon) for the requisite lay in the hay. When Dondie, finds Ricardo, he takes the latter home to the consternation of his effete yaya (Rick Rick Sabik). When Junjun runs away from home, Dondie diligently occupies himself with his “maligalig” (burdensome) guest, now exhibiting a blunt affect. He conveniently forgets altogether that his son is nowhere. He even calls a doctor (Kim Allen) for consultation when common sense would have you search for the missing child first. Quite inspiring turn of events, right?
Ricardo is all sweaty from his solitary marathon, thus he needs his bath - stat! Out of Dondie’s kind heart, he personally attends to Ricardo’s bath, laboriously taking off his briefs and making “piga” his briefs, carefully soaping every inch of the catatonic guy’s body where it’s needed. You see, it’s imperative that his guests be very clean, right? It’s a requisite more important than finding his son!
Would Dondie be able to help the disturbed Ricardo?  
(Dustin Jose) finds Ricardo’s body spread unconsciously down the ground. Why would he consciously help the poor soul? Maybe it’s because this unfortunate lad has flawless Olay-cured skin? Who knows, right?

The crux of the narrative centers on the events surrounding the death of Ricardo Silang’s mother. Thus newcomer Ross Uy immerses himself in alternating moments of catatonia, excessive grief, and short spouts of lucidity. Unfortunately, thought Ross Uy isn’t exactly as hammy as – say Jeff Luna or Anton Molina – his scenes tend to dictate a one-note emotive modality. And after a while, this gets tedious and irritating, you’d wish he would just jump off the bridge to get it over and done with! Why? Because his supposed “Post Traumatic Stress” has evolved into anything relatable to the psychiatric pathology. He soon acquires visual hallucinations of his spine-tingling mother turning up to give him ripe mangoes.
Where have you heard of mangoes as a point of horrific contention? Mangoes and ghosts forthwith come together like hands in glove. Damn! Only in the Philippines! I swear I will never look at mangoes the same way ever again.
Dustin Jose’s character is likewise bewildering. He opens the scene with a bath; something that he has done a hundred times before in more than a dozen films. It’s his de rigueur scene. I have come to an easy conclusion that Mr. Jose has to be one of the cleanest guys in the firmament of Pink flicks! In fact, we should test his bacteriological component and experiment on the different types of bactericidal soups while he’s at it. Might as well make his predilection to bathing relatively commodious, debah? He also succeeds in canoodling with Ricardo's joysticks all in the name of concern for humanity, of course! He finds a catatonic guy and even calls for a doctor to treat him -  then he imposes his err "hard" love on him. How very politically appropriate indeed. :)

Director Paul Singh Cudail is eternally lost in his narrative balderdash. This is evident in a series of scenes as redundant as his movies. Ricardo would wake up beside a sleeping Dondie, seemingly lucid. Then he would run away – once again, aimlessly. Then he finally turns up once again in Dondie’s place. If you count these scenes, you would somehow feel a sense of déjà vu because this keeps repeating ad nauseam. Somehow, Cudail needs to bump something against the wall (try the head?) so he could probably shake the tedium of his worn stories and narrative dilemmas. Instead of fixating on Ross Uy’s full frontal scenes (yes, there are several do-not-blink-or- you –will-miss-the-mushroom-head scenes), he should concentrate on the story at hand instead of obsessing on 2-inch wieners of good looking actor-wannabe’s. It’s really sad how this industry has turned into the perverted hobby of a few brainless schmucks who can’t even discern “narrative preponderance” of stories they themselves conjure: like prioritizing the mental health of a catatonic gentleman over a lost son!
But then such is the conceit of cheap exploitative flicks like this. You don’t require logic served on genitalia-hungry Pink lovers, right? It’s the penis that matters. Nothing else!

Dustin Jose as Dondie and Ross Uy as Ricardo.

Dondie and Ricardo

Dustin Jose and Jake Galleon

Dustin Jose and his predilection for bathing. After posing and sitting on a rock, he would need to soap away the grime on his backside, wouldn't he? :)

Baby faced Ross Uy does a 79.6 kilometer sprint from Batangas to Manila.

Ross Uy


Gene said...

all your reviews are painfully funny and i like it, no, i love it. haha

Cathy Pena said...

Thanks, Gene. I morph into a rambunctious comedienne when I get irritated watching something banal. It's like a switch board. :)