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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.

Dec 27, 2012

'Sisterakas' Movie Review: Laughing All The Way To The Bank

WE DIDN’T EXPECT anything much from “Sisterakas” as it’s done in a rush and the works of Wenn Deramas lately seem to have run out of effective jokes and failed to make us laugh, notably “This Guy’s In Love with You, Mare” which really bored us. But wonder of wonders, we found ourselves not just chuckling or guffawing in a number of scenes in “Sisterakas” but really laughing out loud, thanks mostly to the humorous comic chemistry between the main leads Ai Ai de las Alas and Vice Ganda. Wenn has also concocted a fairly involving story about warring half siblings.

The movie starts when Detty (Ai Ai) and Totoy aka Bernice (Vice) are still little children. Detty asks Totoy: “Bakla ka ba?” and Totoy retorts: “Mahaba ba ang baba mo?” (They got a child actress with an exact elongated chin to play the young Ai Ai.)

Ai Ai’s mom is the legal wife of their very rich dad (Epi Quizon) while Vice is the bastard son of their housemaid. When Ai’s mom (Rubi Rubi) discovers this, she pushes Vice’s mom downstairs and she becomes a cripple as an older woman (Gloria Diaz). Because of this, Vice vows to take revenge on Ai and her mom.

We next see Vice already very rich as the head of clothing company, Pony Tale, wearing outlandish gowns and costumes and channeling in Meryl Streep in “Devil Wears Prada”. Ai in turn is a poor single mom with two daughters (Kathryn Bernardo and Xyriel Manabat) whose dad (Gardo Versoza) threatens to get custody of them. How Vice got rich and Ai got so dirt poor is never explained.

When Vice learns that Ai is his long lost half sister, he hires her and starts maltreating her. But Vice’s biggest rival, Kris Aquino, pirates Ai and Vice’s business starts to suffer. When Kris’s dad, Tirso Cruz III, eases her out and promotes Ai, Kris plots to have Ai assassinated and this is the film’s climax.

We’re not surprised that “Sisterakas” is the number one topgrosser at the current Metro Filmfest. All its three stars really have their own hordes of followers, especially Vice. The audience really laps up all his wacky antics, even if they’ve seen it all before. They just love it when he insults his “kaeksena”. When someone gives Vice a reply that already has an obvious answer, instead of just saying “o, alam mo na pala ang sagot, but nagtatanong ka pa”, what he does is he makes fun of them or embarrasses them and his fans just enjoy it so much. He had done it before in “Petrang Kabayo”, “Praybeyt Benjamin”, etc. but it still works for him up to now. Some of his lines are all apparent spontaneous adlibs but they’re quite effective. When he gets shot and blood oozes from him, he quips while staring at the blood: “Dalaga na ako.”

We should commend Kris for being game enough and allowing herself to look ridiculous in her role as the villain Roselle. We thought she’s not in good terms with her ex-hubby but James Yap is so exploited in so many scenes in this movie. DJ Durano, Vice’s traitorous assistant, is named James and everyone someone calls his name, his reply is “Yap Yap Yap”. At one point, Kris even makes fun of her own sad affair with James and says she’s confused about it. But in the end, Kris chickens out and obviously asked that her character be redeemed. Bigla siyang bumait.

Wenn once again employs exaggerated over-the-top cartoonish kind of humor and it works here, particularly in that scene where Gloria Diaz lets Vice push her down the stairs just to refresh Ai Ai’s memory of that sad incident in their lives. The falling down the stairs technique gets used here several times as Kris herself has a scene where she does it. Ai’s funniest scene is when Vice orders her to bring him more milk to drink and when the supply runs out, she starts milking her own breasts and later on even brings in an entire cow inside the conference room. As usual, in the end credits, they show all the bloopers.

Currently hot teen stars Daniel and Kathryn are given their own sweet moments in the movie but they get waylaid along the way by the sheer dominant presence of their more senior co-stars.

This is not a movie made to please film critics or award-giving bodies. It’s made only to cash in on the pulling power of its three top stars and it accomplishes that, exactly. Its makers are now certainly laughing all the way to the bank.