The best medicine
Philip Cu-Unjieng (The Philippine Star) - April 21, 2006 - 12:00am

As director Wenn Deramas announced, in a deadpan manner, this was a special preview of his new film D’ Lucky Ones, before it is sent to the Berlin Film Festival. The audience erupted in laughter and quite subtly, the spell was cast, the mood and tone of the night established. D’ Lucky Ones may not find favor in even the most minor of international film festivals, but with the scorching summer temperatures rising, with E-VAT clutching at every facet of our lives, and with our winsome Lipa City mayor still enjoying tenure, D’ Lucky Ones may be just what the doctor ordered.

As Star Cinema’s summer release, the film may very well enjoy the success D’ Anothers had a year ago. Broad comedy, a respectful humor-laden nod to our cinematic and show business heritage/history, a smattering of young stars, and the surprise leading ladies tandem of Pokwang and Eugene Domingo – all form the elements of a movie that aspires for nothing more than to give the audience a fun-laden, side-splitting two hours of mirth.

While Sandara Park and real-life boyfriend Joseph Bitangcol provide the star-crossed love interest, the film is ably stolen by comediennes Pokwang and Eugene Domingo. Pokwang is Sandara’s mother, while Eugene is Joseph’s mother. Essaying characters who are Vilma Santos die-hards, Pokwang and Eugene raise their respective families, and, thanks to their Vilma-devotion, name their children Lucky Girl and Lucky Boy.

Out-of-context mouthing of lines from Vilma’s classic films are a central part of the ensuing humor. Whenever a dramatic moment crops up, the "air in the balloon" is let out via the hilarious use of these lines. It’s great to see Pokwang and Eugene enjoying the freedom to "run away" with the film. These accomplished thespians fill the screen with sympathetic portrayals and laugh-out-loud moments.

Given the ‘70s feel of the film’s color and texture which is reminiscent of Vilma-Edgar Mortiz movies, one could almost imagine how D’ Lucky Ones could have been done back then with Sylvia La Torre taking on Eugene’s role and Moody Diaz playing Pokwang’s character.

Candy Pangilinan, Carla Humphries, Nikki Valdez, JR Valentin, Janus del Prado and Franzen Fajardo provide able support.

In the final analysis, it’s the very real portrayal of what Filipino fan mentality is all about that makes the screenplay sparkle. Sure, this isn’t a socially-relevant, message-laden project. But what it may lack in depth, it more than makes up with guaranteed broad-market enjoyment. Anyone who’s ever held a candle for a movie star, or considered themselves "tunay na fan," will be in stitches over the antics and situations these two "extreme" Vilmanians find themselves in as they reach mid-life.

Vilma, Nora, Aga, Sharon – it doesn’t matter. The "fan" mindset is a peculiar one in the Philippine context, and it’s great to see a film that pokes fun at it, while declaring how much respect it has for the said attitude. After all, this fanbase is in large part what has driven the success of the local film industry, and this fact is not overlooked.

For a movie with all-out fun and laughter stamped all over it, D’ Lucky Ones makes no pretensions of trying to be anything more. So, despite Wenn’s pronouncements, Berlin will have to wait!

BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL CANDY PANGILINAN CARLA HUMPHRIES FILM JOSEPH BITANGCOL LUCKY ONES POKWANG AND EUGENE POKWANG AND EUGENE DOMINGO VILMA
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