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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.

Jan 6, 2014

My Little Bossings Review: Will Be Remembered For Its Shameless Product Plugs

THE MAKERS of “My Little Bossings” are already laughing all the way to the bank since the movie is the Metro Filmfest topgrosser (and this is the only thing that really matters for our profit-oriented industry), so we’re sure they don’t mind at all the uniformly negative reviews that it's getting. They’re really so lucky that people flocked to their movie and just ignored the bad reviews.

The movie is meant to be a comedy and, as such, it’s greatest sin for us is that it’s not at all funny. It’s meant primarily for children because it stars Ryzza Mae Dizon, the precocious Little Miss Philippines winner who’s the most popular child star today, and celebrity son Bimby Aquino, who only has endearing screen presence but definitely cannot act. But the truth is they’re both underutilized in the movie, which is actually more of a drama involving the messy relationship of a estranged father (Vic Sotto) and his lesbian daughter (Aiza Seguerra).

Vic resents his own child because she caused the death of her mom, Erica Padilla, who appears only in flashbacks in a non-speaking role. So that’s the first thing that the movie asks us to do: stretch our imagination and believe that if and when Vic and Erica would have a child, it would be someone like Aiza.

To give the movie a semblance of a story, Vic as Torky is working as a bookkeeper for the ultra rich Barbara (Kris Aquino), who is accused by her own half sister Marga (Jaclyn Jose) to be the mastermind in a pyramid scam. While she goes into hiding to clear her name, Kris leaves her son Justin (Bimby) with Torky who dreams of going around the world like the dad of Audrey Tautou in “Amelie”.

Justin reluctantly lives with Torky and his “niece”, Ice (Aiza), and Ice’s own ward from the orphanage, Ching (Ryzza). It’ll be revealed later that Aiza is actually Vic’s child and Ryzza is also the real daughter of Aiza, with Jerico Antonio as the father. Maybe scriptwriter Bibeth Orteza wants to give Vic a different kind of vehicle that has more heart in it with this schmaltzy father-daughter story. It’s meant to tug at our heartstrings, but it just doesn’t work. It honestly looks out of place in a movie where the main come-ons are supposed to be Ryzza and Bimby and the novelty of their tandem, which is no doubt primarily the reason why it attracted whole families to watch it.

The very thin storyline is stretched to kingdom come with the help of so many blatant and not just casual plugs. Every product from instant noodles to cough medicine to detergent that Vic Sotto is endorsing has a prominent placement in the story. The shamelessness of it all will just make you cringe. This is what the movie-going public paid for to make it a topgrosser? We’ve been duped!

And the narrative moves so slowly because of the various ad intrusions that at one point, even our own 5-year old granddaughter complained to us: “Lolo, it’s so bagal.” She got bored because she’s expecting Ryzza and Bimby would be given more screen time. We can really say that Ryzza and Bimby are just wasted here, just like Jose Manalo and Paolo Ballesteros in their buffoonish roles that actually amounted to nothing. The movie just meanders and we’re not even sure what Kris is doing to counter the evil moves of Jaclyn. And when they felt the movie is already too long, there’s a sudden resolution and Kris instantly fights back to bring Jaclyn down for the obligatory happy ending.

Wonder how Director Marlon Rivera felt while doing this movie. In the indie film, “Ekstra”, he played the director of a soap who’s groaning from the product placements being imposed on him. Here he is now experiencing the same thing in a mainstream movie that is his first Metro Filmfest entry at that. Well, we guess he can claim his hands are tied. But ironically for a filmmaker who started auspiciously in “Babae sa Septic Tank” (where he also satirized product placements in a movie), we can’t help but feel sorry for his work that just quickly deteriorated, what with the big flop that is “Huling Henya” and now, this, which is, however, a topgrosser. So maybe that’s enough of a consolation.