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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.

Sep 19, 2019


maris racal as ellenya l

‘I’M ELLENYA L’ is an entry in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. Basically a romantic-comedy, it makes fun of young people today whose lives revolve on social media, particularly those who want to be stars on the internet with their own youtube channels.

Maris Racal is Ellenya Lakampati and her foremost ambition in life is to be a top social media influencer. Instead of holding on to a regular job, she maintains a vlog where she chronicles trivial things happening in her life from the moment she wakes up in the morning. 

She has a very supportive single dad (Gio Alvarez, they never mention what happened to her mom) and her father is just like her. He also doesn’t have a regular job and earns a living singing in public places and waiting for doles from people passing by.

You’d really wonder how they get to earn a decent living since they’re shown living in a middle-class and well appointed home. Does Ellenya’s dad earn that much from begging with his music? Ellenya’s grandmother (Nova Villa) is against Ellenya’s obsession to be a social media star and would rather she holds a regular job.

But Ellenya’s dad is so supportive to the point that he’s willing to do crazy things for her. Since she doesn’t have money to buy a drone camera for her vlog, he goes up on their roof with a makeshift camera attached to a long stick to feign a zooming aerial shot.

She also fakes the shots of her going to the beach and riding on a moving motorcycle. In other words, she’d rather live a fake life than work hard like normal people do.

After a while, Ellenya’s shenanigans no longer come off as amusing but annoying. The character is no longer sympathetic and honestly, we personally want to hit her on the head to knock some sense into her and she’d wake up to the foolishness of her schemes.

Maybe, the millennials who similarly aim to be a vlogger or influencer can relate with her, but sorry, we believe there are more meaningful things in life we can do to obtain validation than just being an internet star.

We seriously believe that the internet is a bad influence on young people of this social media-obssessed generation. Their ambitions have gone so low and, instead of working hard in a regular profession, now think they can earn a living and earn big time only by being popular through social media.

 It’s good Ellenya has her neighbor and best friend, Peng (Inigo Pascual), who tolerates her in her efforts to supply her vlog with more interesting content, but also puts his put down when he thinks she’s going overboard. He gets so peeved after a while and tells her she’s no longer being “true to herself”.

To gain more subscribers, she enlists the help of a PR strategist for celebrities, Kyle (Pat Sugui), who also handles her favorite celebrity, Sue Ramirez as herself. She kowtows to him even if his assistant (Kat Galang) is flagrantly insulting her as she really has very few followers in her instagram account and her youtube channel.

The movie is aimed at millennial audiences but sadly, they’re not to be seen inside the theaters where the film was showing. They flocked to “The Panti Sisters” instead.

As we’ve said time and again, viewers who watch video content on their cellphones are already satisfied with just that. They’re not the type who’d go out to buy tickets for the movies whose trailers they admired on the internet.

So, if you’re a producer or director and your youtube trailer got 10 million hits, don’t rejoice right away as it doesn’t necessarily mean that this will be translated into big box office success. Those who watched the trailer on their tablets or computers are already contented with only that. Sorry, but they’re not really interested on watching the actual full length movie.

In all fairness to Maris Racal, she is cute as Ellenya, but that’s all we can say about her. She’s not really leading lady material. She can be funny and is better off playing the goofy best friend of the lead character, just like in some other romcom she did with different lead stars.

To our surprise, it’s Inigo Pascual who registered so well for us in the movie. As the voice of reason who is the foil to Ellenya’s idiocy, he does a much better job here than in “Relaks, It’s Just Pagibig”, where he was eclipsed by Julian Estrada.

The movie is the directorial debut of Boy2 Quizon and he does know what he’s doing. We just wished he had a better written where the lead character was made more sympathetic than appearing like a stupid oaf.

The movie also employs toilet humor and shows a gross out scene of someone defecating on camera. So if you’re squeamish and cannot stand such vulgarity, be properly warned. If you want movies that treat the addiction of young people today to social media, you’d be better off watching the docus “Jawline” or “The American Meme”.