Movie review ‘I Am Not Big Bird’: Hilarious sex comedy with heartfelt story about friendship

Nikko Natividad, Enrique Gil, and Red Ollero in a scene from the film “I Am Not Big Bird”

CEBU, Philippines — It’s true indeed that Enrique Gil’s character does not have a ‘big bird’, but what’s certain is that the Kapamilya actor can in fact deliver in the comedy genre.

His comeback movie “I Am Not Big Bird” focuses on Luis Carpio (Gil) who travels to Thailand after a failed engagement proposal. As a way to make up for lost time after being so busy with his long-term relationship, his friends Macky (Nikko Natividad) and July (Red Ollero) join him in their conquest to get laid.

However, what was supposed to be a fun trip goes off the rails when Luis is mistaken as titular porn star Big Bird who lives up to his moniker – realizing that he has a doppelganger. This puts him and his friends into dangerous situations, much to the amusement of audiences.

Anyone familiar with Cebuano director Victor Villanueva’s humor shouldn’t be surprised that “I Am Not Big Bird” has his fingerprints all over it. What’s notable is that this film, produced by ABS-CBN Film’s Black Sheep and Anima, has a mainstream movie budget glow compared to his indie cult favorite “Patay Na Si Hesus”, showing how crazy the Cebuano director can get to tell his story with mainstream funding.

After doing loveteam projects for so long with his partner Liza Soberano, Gil showed that he has what it takes to be a comedic actor. He has a natural knack for the genre, going all out – even going partially nude (albeit censored) – to prove a point that he does not have a “big bird”. Many will be surprised and charmed by his unfiltered acting.

Of course, he is not alone in giving a good performance as Ollero and Natividad also did great as Luis’ friends.

The film earned its R-16 rating as many of the off-colored jokes may remind viewers of the R-rated Hollywood comedies from Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and director Judd Apatow, yet it still has that distinct crass Filipino conversational humor that we are used to seeing in videos online.

However, these jokes weren’t made for the sole purpose of shocking audiences. Hiding behind the asinine tone of the movie is a message to make time to hang out with your life-long friends, even if you are busy with work or with your love life.  A lot of time in “I Am Not a Big Bird” is devoted to Luis finding his self-worth as he struggles through insecurities that are the root of his failing relationships with his girlfriend and buddies. It is something that the film’s target audience, Gen Z and millennials, can relate to.

You can expect a lot of laugh-out-loud moments that are brilliantly executed by Villanueva’s unique directing style and Gil’s outstanding portrayal. But you can also enjoy and relate to its story which tackles working out aone’s insecurities to be a better person to everyone.

Treat it as a popcorn comedy flick to have some fun, or relate to a story that might move you about the hardships of adulting. Just be ready to see Gil once he appears as Luis’ well-endowed doppelganger. Four stars out of five. — (FREEMAN)

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