This time around, Mother Goose loses grip on what's funny
And the holiday commercialism once again rears its ugly head.
"Ang Tanging Ina Ninyong Lahat" is the inauspicious yet inevitable latest turn from the film-making arm of one of the giant multimedia networks in this country as Ai-Ai de las Alas joins once more with director Wenn Deramas in the follow-up to "Ang Tanging Ina" for some more shoddy pastiches and maxim-mangling. What "Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo" and "Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo" did for 2006 and 2007 respectively, "Ang Tanging Ina Ninyong Lahat" now does for 2008, which is to bank on the huge appeal of its studio's stars. Then it will rake in money.
The film's main draw is the fact that it involves the two names that made its 2003 predecessor successful: the team-up of director Deramas and star de las Alas. Said gimmick would have sounded infinitely more exciting had it not been overused in other Deramas-de las Alas films that are, while technically outside of the "Tanging Ina" canon, simply rehashes of the premise of the 2003 blockbuster hit featuring de las Alas as a mother who will do anything to provide for her children while getting involved in slapstick moments that are getting harder and harder for the suspension of disbelief. In a season rife with cynicism, it's easy to dismiss the filmmakers' motive as what can be regularly attributed to a faulty film festival: taking advantage of the movie-going public and their Christmas money.
Except for a few, the main players of the original cast is back. De las Alas yet again plays Ina Montecillo, the thrice-widowed (or four-time if you consider the disappearance of Dennis Padilla's character in this movie suspect) mother of a dozen children. Five years have gone by and Ina is still struggling to find the perfect job to provide for her family even if four of her children have moved on to greener pastures abroad (network contractual obligations, you know).
With the help of her loud-mouthed best friend Rowena (Eugene Domingo, another constant of the de las Alas-Deramas tandem), Ina lands a job as a chambermaid for the President (Gloria Diaz). But strange twists of fate has Ina soon getting the Presidential seat for herself where she finds out that aside from managing her children who never seemed to have learned their lessons after the happy ending of the first film, she now also has the weight of the whole country weighing in on her.
Sounds ridiculous, and sure feels like it. Every scene feels like an individual sketch bound by the most basic premise of its characters having to go from uninspired slapstick to overwrought dramatic scenes that reference other movies without the focus to get to its destination straight. Which wouldn't matter if it was funny just as "KKK" and "SSS" were; it isn't. It also shows promise when at first it seems to delve to jab into political matters but loses its balls by simply bypassing those issues for more cheap jokes and a well-too-neatly laid hokey resolution. Except for Domingo and Alwyn Uytingco as the gay son, everyone seems to sleepwalk right through and no one gives a memorable performance.
This one ends as a typical year-ender for Philippine cinema where local theaters are flooded with disposable entertainment for the highly undemanding taste. The title seems to yell an obscene expression to people everywhere under the guise of humor; how apt, then, that it's of a film that downplays the intelligence of the local audience in the name of comedy.
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