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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 4, 2018

Meant To Beh Movie Review: Vic Sotto Steps Up To A Higher Level With A Comedy That Deals With Some Valid Issues On Family And Relationships

IF YOU’D seen the past Metro Filmfest entries that Vic Sotto churned out regularly in the past, especially the ‘Enteng Kabisote’ series (which are all topgrossers since they were made before the advent of Vice Ganda), then you’d know that his current entry, “Meant to Beh”, is the one that is most worth watching of all. It doesn’t even have the usual casual plugs or product placements common in Vic’s past movies. If only for his conscious effort to step up to a level higher than the inanities he used to do before, Vic deserves our commendation and encouragement.

“Meant to Beh” is about marriage and family, relevant and valid subject matters particularly in time for the Christmas season when families get together. Vic is Ron and Dawn is Andrea. They’ve been married for several years and have three kids, but they just agreed to get married then to please their parents, who are now all dead.

They have different backgrounds. Dawn works as an editor for a travel magazine while Vic manages a carwash shop owned by a Japanese. As Vic says, Dawn is”elitista” while Dawn says Vic is “jologs”. Now, they feel that the gap between them has widened more than ever, they’ve become wary of one another and doubt if they’ve ever really been happy with each other at all, so they agree to separate.

For this project, Vic gets to work for the first time with young director Chris Martinez, who have written acclaimed comedy hits like “Bridal Shower”, “Kimmy Dora” and “Babae sa Septic Tank”. As a writer-director, he has made such award-winning films as “100” and “Here Comes the Bride”. For “Meant to Beh”, you know he has to make a film that is somewhat tailor-made for his main star, still a comedy but more wholesome and harmless than anything Vic has done before.

We think Chris somehow managed to achieve the purpose for which he is commissioned. The story is more reality based, no fantasy elements or special effects, and there is less of the low brow slapstick humor that Vic often resorted to. The casting of Vic with Dawn Zulueta as his wife is also a brilliant move as Dawn is so competent and brings so much of her elegant and sparkling presence in all her scenes, even if she’s ludicrously supposed to be a cougar being matched with Daniel Matsunaga who has nothing more than his strong screen presence going for him.

Together, Vic and Dawn have many hilarious moments that help sustain our interest in the movie. But Martinez also has the obligation of the giving their own share of exposure to Vic and Dawn’s kids. He’s not successful with all of them. We will be kind and no longer mention any of the observations that we have about them. They try to engineer the reconciliation of their parents, like what Hayley Mills and Lindsay Lohan in the two versions of the hit movie, “The Parent Trap”.

We were also amused by the way Martinez incorporated the cameo performances of their guest stars in the movie. Vic becomes a Gruber driver and among his passengers are “Eat Bulaga” Dabarkads Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros as the three lolas, and Ruby Rodriguez and Jimmy Santos as octogenarians who’ve been married for so long but still so sweet to each other.

But the most ingenious and fun is the way Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza are introduced as a couple who share a carpool, become initially antagonistic to each other on their way to a blind date, but it turns out that they happen to be each other’s blind dates.

Andrea Torres also pops up as a brokenhearted passenger who cries her heart out to Vic and ends up infatuated with him. She and Dawn figure in an over-the-top violent catfight that rivals the fight scenes of female characters in such GMA-7 soaps as “Ika-6 na Utos” and “Haplos”, but there’s a twist in it that is truly quite funny.

Andrea doesn’t come out as a contravida here and the subplot involving her is resolved with her being given a graceful exit. All in all, it’s definitely more entertaining than most of the Vic Sotto films we’ve seen before. We just that Thou Reyes was given more things to do as Varda, the crossdressing new yaya of Baeby Basta. His is an amusing presence but he’s nothing but a decoration that doesn’t even have any speaking lines.