The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin (Wenn V. Deramas, 2011)November.2.2011
If you’re blazing hot in the movie industry, just strike, strike, and strike until you quit or if people grow tired of your same old antics. And it seems that Vice Ganda’s following is really big. I remember the time when he was able to do a show in Araneta Coliseum. The freakin’ Araneta Coliseum. As said, even if you don’t try to be funny in the film, these same people would still attribute to it as one of your zany antics. Imagine that, comedy without even trying.
As the story goes, Vice Ganda’s father, played by Jimmy Santos, had to turn away from the legacy of their kin of soldiers. As expected, Santos’ father, played by Eddie Garcia, throws them away from the family and Santos lived a quiet life with his wife and three children. Santos tried to make amends with his father and denied by Garcia because Vice Ganda is gay. A national issue came up when terrorists kidnapped all the highest ranking officials in the land. Unknown to Santos, Vice Ganda decided to take place of the father, since a family has to produce a representative that would help the country, preferably male.
There are a lot of lame publicity that this movie has brought to my eyes. For one, the title of the film itself is quite stupid. I mean, Praybeyt Benjamin? Did you guys asked the rights from the Goldie Hawn film? Then, the use of the family name in the film, Santos. Seriously? It is as if the writer ran out of names, so he or she saw Jimmy Santos, and told himself, “Hey, we should use the surname Santos. I’m so smart I am going to wash dishes in the washing machine.” And they were too late in using Derek Ramsey’s abs for the trailer, No Other Woman was first in line.
But I have to say that the Vice Ganda style of comedy is improving in the big screen. I hated her version of Petrang Kabayo and this time, it is quite acceptable in a few instances. At least, he didn’t have to trade lines with a kid, which is absolutely un-adorable. At least they were able to produce at least two laugh out loud scenes, in my book that is. One was the shower scene and the other being the Colonel punchline. In spite of the movie looking just like a long version of a sketch show, at least they were able to portray a straight story.
Surprisingly, for me and as said, Vice Ganda need not to act in the film. His followers would surely laugh at any scene that compromises him and his five type of faces. Funny director Wenn Deramas had to do the film so safe that he added good minor players with the likes of Nikki Valdez, DJ Durano, Vandolph, and a few other familiar faces.
The film is worth watching at home with the family while eating lunch. It feels like a long episode of Showtime. I think they should re-read the script over and over to avoid predictability. Lucky for me, even though I hated the idea of seeing Jimmy Santos back in the big screen, nostalgia somehow saved the occasional use of exaggerated, but not situational, scenes. If they’re planning to do a sequel, it would be nice if they would add finesse in the supposedly comedic scenes.