Tanging Ina (Part 2--Please read previous post first)

Along the way Deramas (using a script from Mel Mendoza del Rosario--one of the better comedy writers working in the industry today--and Keiko Aquino) scores a few satiric points: the tendency of Filipinos to produce unbelievably large families (Ai-Ai eventually ends up with an even dozen kids), the mad scramble for decent jobs in an increasingly indecent economy; the value put on displayable material wealth and "face," or surface respectability. Some of the better jokes include Ai-Ai naming her children after numbers (Juan (Marvin Agustin), after "one;" Portia (Heart Evangelista) shortened from "por" or "four"); Dennis Padilla as her latest suitor, a taxi driver with an appealingly maniacal twinkle in his eye and a penchant for showing up in his knight-errand taxi at the right place and the right time; and, of course, the film's title, which literally means "true Mother," the same time it's a pun on an obscenity that means: "whore mother."


The film doesn't sustain the comic momentum: about two-thirds of the way the picture seriously sags from all the tearjerking drama, meant to underline Ai-Ai's plight and suffering (they could have underlined it and still made it funny). Some of the satire isn't as pointed as it could be--Heart Evengelista could have really gone to town on her materialistic Portia, who expects her mother to fork out enough cash for her swanky debut birthday party, but other than some deft slapstick she does little else; no connection is made between Ai-Ai's troubles and the Catholic Church's medieval policies on birth control; and an incident involving a terrorist bomber seems to come out of left field if one isn't familiar with the turmoil that embroiled Manila at the time the film was made (some political context would have been welcome). Still, this is a film with serious targets that it manages to skillfully skewer at least half the time (most Filipino satires nowadays seem too broad, or miss their targets entirely); and in terms of general quality it stands head and shoulders above the standard-issue "toilet humor" or "tits-and-ass" slapstick.


rome2georgia said...

Oy Deeks! reserve this blog for your private thoughts. your reviews already come in via email. want to read about you not your work. I get to do that separately already. O, di ba? <Hugs!>

rome2georgia said...

haven't read the four-parter abt NC BBQ but i will, promise! told liz abt your blog. hope she signs in soon! haha!

noelbotevera said...

Private thoughts? You wish!

The piece on Tanging Ina won't come out in my egroup service--the film is old. I'll probably post on films I won't write about otherwise. And some other things, let's see.

rome2georgia said...

ah...kaya pala nagsulat ka tungkol sa pelikulang ito dito sa iyong sariling blog. tumpak! :) okees.. in that case, I'll read these as well.