Sunday, October 7, 2012

Darry dela Cruz's For Adults Only - More of Nothing

Mart Delgado (Charles Delgado) is tinseltown’s latest “it” boy. He graces blockbuster sexy flicks that are talk of the town. To up his ante, he decides to team up with his rival Lance Jacinto (Jeremy Ian) who’s only too willing to share the spotlight with Mart. The film, directed by Pink Flick auteur Popoy Legaspi, is called “Rated X”, and it promises to be as magniloquent as the title. Publicity mill starts drumming up interest and several male starlets want to be part of it. Unfortunately, just before wrapping up principal photography, the supervising producer runs away with the production budget, leaving the project unfinished and in limbo. What happens then?

To save the film, Mart and Lance decide to shoulder the expenses. But they don’t have much, and they’re desperate to get the movie done. After all, in this business, you’re only as good as your last project; and plenty is at stake here. When the director refuses to budge without payment, Mart and Lance decide to offer their non-financial assets, err, I mean “riches”. When the limpwristed camera owner refuses, Mart presents his six-inch solution. Quite fetching, right? But their carnal bounty just isn’t enough. Film editing alone costs P30,000 per session.

Then a solution presents itself: a lady (Priscilla Perez) is offering P20,000 for a concupiscent three-way with Mart and Lance. Since such “bookings” aren’t foreign to both actors, they agree to this exciting misdeed. After their libidinous session, the girl further proposes: that if Mart and Lance go at it, she would double the fee. They acquiesce, unaware that the girl is secretly recording their salacious same-sex coupling. What’s more, she is the girlfriend of one of the film’s auditionees (Rocco Mateo). Not long after, bootleg copies of their shenanigan spread like wildfire, pre-empting the commercial release of their film. Could they rely on their director’s help, who’s being relentlessly seduced by young upstart Anton (Jerome Pineda)? Will the film ever get shown? Mart and Lance have cooked up a tricky maneuver that involves a bottle of Muriatic Acid. Will this ruse work?

Charles Delgado as Mart Delgado

Jeremy Ian as Lance Jacinto

Jerome Pineda as Anton.

This week’s Pink Film tackles a familiar world. Director Darry dela Cruz’sFor Adults Only” recreates this subculture of the third-rate film business populated by the ugliest gay men I’ve ever laid eyes on. In fact, many of the scenes involve a flamboyant television anchor who does nothing but nag, fuss, and bitch around. He’s given carte blanche to deliver protracted monologues about how successful he is and how he’s irritated by the people around him. It was almost too painful to keep watching him insult people around when his mere presence was adequate enough for any cinematic audience to self flagellate. Crisaldo Pablo used to do this a lot – i.e. he populates his flicks with the ugliest beings ever to have walked the Earth; now Darry dela Cruz follows through.

Erotic dramas are supposed to cajole and seduce their audience, right? So – is it wise to field the most hideous creatures for people to ogle at? Were they going for titillation or vomiting? Anyone with a fourth of a brain would be cognizant to this dilemma. It’s really a no-brainer. But, lo and behold, these critters are given longer exposure than the stars of the film. I almost went out of the cinema bloating with evanescent hives and engorged larynx. You see, I am allergic to excessive ugliness, like the Madam who loves her expensive shoes. This film has that! Manong Pedring, my driver, was inconsolable as he drove me home, while I belly flop with my rendition of : “Dahil sa ‘yo nais kong mabuhay…” But let’s get back into the story.  

If you read through the narrative flow, there seems to be a crucial and considerable chronology of events, right? But the story is told in the driest of techniques, it was like watching paint dry. The only “proof of life” is Charles Delgado who looks youthful and earnest. Even Jerome Pineda frames his scenes with smug confidence – and clenched teeth, it’s baffling! Every scene is punctuated by bored blocking, they might as well film my Tita Blessy as she partakes her daily novena. At least she has more brio with her prayers. There are half a dozen shower scenes, but even these are as tired as the intelligence quotient of its makers. Yup, no peekaboos nor mushroom heads to whet the pervs’ appetites. Moreover, the sex scenes are as passionless as the drying laundry from my neighborhood window. Goodness.

Like other Cleo Paglinawan and Darry dela Cruz films, there’s always an unexplained scene where “straight guys” suddenly go at it – like rabbits in heat. After the deed, they would chat: “Ba’t natin ginawa yun? Bakla ba tayo?” Yes, check Dela Cruz and Paglinawan’s other works and this scenario is ubiquitous. Regardless of the script writer (this one is written by Len Ortega and Dela Cruz), the situational entanglements are always similar. Another familiar narrative strain is: at the end of the story, someone always dies of a violent death. This is Darry dela Cruz trademark. Straight guys shag each other then they end the living daylights out of their existence. This penchant for tragedy must be some subconscious circumspection to deal with his artistic dearth. Poor man.       

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