Box office success sisters.
(Courtesy of pinoymovie.co)
I promised myself I would not immediately write off the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival entries, at least not without going through the films myself if I was to comment on them. I am beginning to think that I may be breaking that promise so early in 2013, as I finished my second film of this season, Sisterakas.
Showcasing three performers who have proven their mettle in the most important measure our local cinema has for box office success - receipts - this was, even before the festival arrived, a sure hit, if we follow the now adopted formula in entertainment: your fame plus my fame equals mega fame, to the nth power. In this instance, Vice Ganda, Ai Ai de las Alas and Kris Aquino "volt in" to produce what is sure to be a runaway comedy hit.
It may have had that promise, but we all know what happens to promises.
The story follows Bernice (Vice) and Detty (Ai Ai) as siblings who were brought together courtesy of their father's infidelity. A rather formulaic, generic confrontation ensues, at least one severely played out in our film industry: the kabit (mistress) is thrown out, along with her progeny, by the "first wife", cue in the pouring rain for predictable effect, with the illegitimate child swearing that everyone will pay. This may be a wink-wink moment that director Wenn Deramas wants to poke fun at, but the rest of the film makes me consider that there was no irony involved in this scene.
As children, Bernice loved to model clothes while Detty had a talent for designing them, which was what initially drew them together to each other and is the battleground in which their adult "drama" will be played out. Their fates now reversed, Bernice, also called Totoy much to his indignation, is now a smashing success in the fashion world, while Detty is struggling to make ends meet, albeit doing what she loves, designing clothes.
Kris Aquino is introduced as the rival to Bernice's clothing company, and seriously, my mind just blanked trying to remember her character's name, and with good reason: I could not tell whether she was playing a part or just playing herself.
References to her annulled marriage to former husband James Yap were aplenty, that by the nth time that DJ Durano chirps in his "Yup, yup, yup!" you could feel the collective eye rolling of everyone in the theater: ilang beses ba natin gagasgasin ang linyang yan? Her lines are an amalgam of her many, many, many commercials - as if we needed to be reminded of their number since anyone watching local television cannot escape the ubiquitousness of her face - some together with Ai Ai, and even Vice has to make an in-joke that he doesn't have as many commercials. Yet.
Detty has lost her job, and because of a "miracle" (aka a wind blowing a newspaper with a job opening at Bernice's company), she promptly applies for her next job, and her future employer recognizes her as his long lost sister, and maps out his revenge.
What follows is an ode to The Devil Wears Prada, with Vice assuming the role of Miranda Priestly, asking this version's Andi Sacks to get fresh fish caught by Detty herself, or fruits from a specific region in the Philippines for their male supermodel. (In fact, the opening sequence mirrors the foreign film perfectly, with a Pinoy twist: people falling over to the shallow body of water when Bernice is about to pass by, or a filled elevator that has to be emptied so that Bernice can get on it herself.)
The rest of the film passes by with a haphazard conclusion involving a corporate takeover, a planned murder and a lead character getting wounded to save another lead character's life. I won't even go into the cutesy pairing of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, because the latter's hair reminds me of Justin Bieber, and I can't imagine Bieber getting all thug like, but what do I know, since Daniel is pulling it off, with screaming fans and a recorded album to boot.
Try to squeeze as many laughs as you can from this film, if you can. Consider it your "patriotic duty" to help save local cinema. Believe me, you'll be working it.