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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 12, 2016

That Thing Called Tanga Na Movie Review: Outrageous Gay Entertainment With Eric Quizon Giving Lots Of Side-Splitting Laughs In His Very Swishy Performance

MOST OF THE hilarious scenes in “That Thing Called Tanga Na” come from Eric Quizon. He has done many gay films before but this is the one where he is at his flashiest and swishiest, as if he has thrown all caution and inhibitions into the wind and he no longer cares what people may conclude about him. And boy, he does come up with a truly rollicking performance.

As Papa Chu, he is the oldest and the richest among his gay friends in the movie. He is an avid movie fan and his home is adorned with posters of his favorite Tagalog movies and with his photos where he poses with top movie queens, from Nora and Vilma to Sharon and Maricel. He throws his punchlines with aplomb and is also very fond of mouthing lines that are direct quotations from well loved local films like “Madrasta”, “Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit” and, the most riotous of all, “Sister Stella L.”

Eric’s splashy performance alone, which squeezes maximum comic mileage and shows how comfortable he is with his sexuality, is already worth the price of admission. He has two memorable confrontation cum catfight scenes with Jerald Napoles (one in a party scene and one in a spa), his rival over his toyboy, Albie Casino. We were really laughing out loud in these well staged big sequences.

The campy scenes where he and his barkada are watching Miss Universe pageants are also boisterously funny. Scriptwriter Senedy Que should be commended for cooking up some truly rib tickling scenes. And he’s lucky that Director Joel Lamangan successfully and wittily transferred them on the big screen that even homophobes will enjoy watching.

Another show-stealer is Kean Cipriano, who is effortless in his portrayal of a gay fashion designer. Kean is never loud, just flamboyantly but credibly feminine all throughout, very consistent in his limp-wristed characterization in every scene. Martin Escudero as the cross-dressing Georgette, who loves to speak in English but is always murdering the language, and Billy Crawford as Blas, a closet gay and straight acting security guard, also have their moments, but there are scenes where you know they are really straight and just acting out the roles assigned to them.

Angeline Quinto as the mutual friend of Eric and Kean also comes out wacky in most of her scenes, particularly in the hospital where she sings without any sound. She plays Eric’s secretary who has an atrocious fashion sense and always ends up as a ludicrous fashion victim. She’s married to the hunky Mr. Chinatown runner up, Timothy Yap, whose claim to fame in the movie is that he is very well endowed and the huge bulge on his crotch (somewhat like Chris Hemsworth’s role in “Vacation”) always gets the attention of the four gay lead characters.

Two of the new actors being introduced in the movie seem to be of leading man quality, Luke Conde as the love interest of Martin and Ken Alfonso as Kean’s partner. They just have yet to find their best angles for the camera. Also, they should take more serious acting workshops, especially Ken, who’s “acting na acting” style of emoting in his confrontation scene with Kean needs a lot of toning down, just like Vangie Labalan as the mom of Billy’s live in partner (Paolo Gumabao) who’s always over the top and screechingly “galit na galit na galit” in all her scenes.

All in all, it’s a fun piece of outrageous entertainment guaranteed to give you a lot of side-splitting laughs while conveying a message calling for equality, acceptance, understanding and love. This is evident in the actual interviews made with real life gay couples, like Directors Perci Intalan and Jun Lana, Liza Dino and Aiza Seguerra, and many more, which come out quite moving. Showbiz denizens will be particular delighted as there are many in house and private jokes about people in the industry and they’re the ones who are in the best position to recognize these gags.