Nostalgia can't keep this joke from running on fumes
The case of the "Enteng Kabisote" franchise hasn't changed much with this fourth installment ("Enteng Kabisote 4: Okay Ka Fairy Ko... The Beginning of a Legend"): it's either you get the joke or you don't. Although this time, there's an additional bait: the film tries to relive the origins of mortal Enteng (Vic Sotto) and his marriage with the fairy princess Faye (Kristine Hermosa, then played by Alice Dixson). This underwrought film tries to poke its finger through the nose of the television series that started in the late '80s hoping that the target audience will overlook the atrociously absent plot for the nostalgia factor, and Vic Sotto being Vic Sotto.
For the rest of the population, what ensues is a film that's an irritatingly uneven filled with horrible throwaway jokes. Woefully sterile, predictable and numbing, this feeble farce is as funny as a joke told for the fourth straight time, which was never actually funny the first time around.
It's hard to form a decent synopsis of the film as director Tony Y. Reyes merely cobble together arbitrary scenes without much fluidity and hope that the nonsensical scenes would form a logical connection among themselves. At first, Enteng and his youngest child Ada (Mikylla Ramirez) find themselves in the 19th-century colonial Philippines without reason, other than there's a time-traveling mirror that just showed up in the Kabisote household. Then Benok (Oyo Boy Sotto) gets his first scene here as an undercover policeman without additional background as to how he becomes one... just that he engages criminal Nardong Yakitiyak (an annoying Carlos Agassi) in a mad foot chase across the city. This is filled with intercuts of Enteng and family hightailing it to a beachside while battling it out with a group of "aswangs."
How these plot points tie into the main narrative of the film, I don't know. What is certain, though, is that remove these scenes and the movie is about half an hour shorter, which might explain that the filmmakers were running out of materials and were simply lazily padding this into a two-hour or so affair. Nevertheless, the main plot of the film follows a dark figure known as the Dark Angel (Ian Veneracion) who mysteriously appears from nowhere and forges a pact with an enigmatic man (Michael de Mesa) to let evil rule the world in exchange for helping the latter get his wish to settle some past matters with Enteng and Faye.
There's nothing clever or original about "Enteng Kabisote 4" other than the novel idea of conjuring up some retrospective elements. Otherwise it's simply an annoying persistence to come up with another box-office topper that's so single-minded in its money-making intentions as to even notice itself as an exaggeratedly puerile article. Obviously, "Enteng Kabisote" is lazy film-making, a half-hearted attempt to regurgitate the familiar self-references, terrible special-effects, lousy editing, tiresome slapstick and other sophomoric jokes that deem this supposedly family affair an arduous chore. The string of unfunny sketches drag on to the point of sensing the despair for something that's genuinely funny. Reyes and the writers frequently reach a dead-end and seem to just make up the film as they go along, making one wonder whether personalities like de Mesa, Peque Gallaga, and Jomari Yllana are supporting charities that they are desperate for paychecks to be involved in a lackluster project such as this.
But the film's fainenance doesn't seem to affect moviegoers who turned out in droves this year just as they flocked to the previous installments. The screening I went to earlier was packed with children and teenagers, accompanied by parents many of whom probably grew up watching "Okay Ka Fairy Ko" some years ago. It's hard to be churlish when some nostalgia is involved, but this film is a running gag that just refuses to stop, even if its clear it's running on fumes now.
And oh, this film is brought to you by LBC, Goldilocks, PLDT MyDSL, and Clusivol.
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