Sep 16
EUGENE D by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Wed, Sep 16, 2009

It’s been a long while since I last saw an exhilarating movie especially one that is locally-made. But what really made it more interesting is that the movie was bannered by a not so popular comedian.

Eugene Domingo plays not only a dual role in Kimmy Dora. Aside from essaying the role of Kimmy, the smart alecky but temperamental big sister, and Dora as the dumb twin sister, Eugene had also acted the part of the twin’s mother in a flashback scene.

The smooth and dynamic storytelling made up for the not so unique plot of the twin sisters who possess contrasting personalities. Most of the gags arising from situations were delivered with finesse and in perfect timing.

Unlike the usual comedy films which rely on the popularity of the comedian as an actor, the humorous story of Kimmy Dora can stand by its essence. I suspect that there was no specific actor in mind when the script was written. And the gags, probably, were taken from real life situations.

For comedy lovers, the necessary ingredient of a humorous story is not just the funny gags but the absence of corny jokes. They say that 10 good jokes can be erased with just one corny gag. And instead of being entertained, the audience can be stressed by the excessive and offensive trite humor.

Another thing that annoys comedy lovers is the re-use of concepts, sequences or even scenes that have already been seen in foreign movies. Obviously, there are local gag writers who extract jokes particularly from non-English movies and tv sitcoms, thinking that it would pass for originals.

Eugene Domingo and Ces Quesada at the Cultural Center grounds

Kimmy Dora is a cut above the common, far different from the last movie of my favorite triumvirate. In Kimmy Dora, I laughed genuinely while in that filmfest movie, I laughed a few times and groaned more than a dozen times. My admiration for the comic trio failed to deaden my irritation that resulted from their stale jokes.

Even the last movie of my favorite comedian/tv host pale in comparison to Kimmy Dora simply because Eugene Domingo’s movie is a simple comedy. But with a lot of trimmings, the audience had a terrible time in controlling their laughter.

Unlike the run-of-the-mill comedies prevalent in the local movie industry, Kimmy Dora did not use internet jokes, no text jokes and most of all, none of the rerun and rehashed jokes of yore. Kimmy Dora is proof that scriptwriters can still write original and delightful jokes and gags.

Kimmy Dora made me recall a script of mine which was bought by a producer. Having concocted all the jokes in it, I was confident when the story conference was held. But lo and behold, there entered an aging gag writer who infused his trite humor in lieu of my original concoctions.

What made it worse was that the old jokester inserted the jokes just for the sake of it. There was one sequence where two pedicab drivers were talking about the cockfight joke – an idiot who had brought along a duck in the cockpit arena. Another one was the joke about two fat women taking a tricycle ride that ruined the tricycle. Both jokes have no relevance to the story at all.

But the most disgusting thing in that story conference was that everyone was laughing and seemed to be enjoying the corny jokes. No need to mention that I was groaning all the time with my matching poker face. Perhaps, I thought, that was the reason why the local comedy is losing its touch.

Fortunately for an aspiring but serious scriptwriter like me, that project was shelved and had saved me a lot of shame. From what I heard, the producer had a misunderstanding with the director and later on had lost heart in producing movies. And another fortunate thing was that I had already received the 30% down payment for the script.

For the success of Kimmy Dora, credit should first go to the producers. Surprisingly, Piolo Pascual was one of the investors who was willing to gamble on Eugene. The craftmanship was the trademark of Bb. Joyce Bernal, a box-office director. And not to forget Chris Martinez, the scriptwriter who also created the concept.

Not to lessen the effort of Eugene, the movie is Eugene herself. No one can act the part that Eugene had played to the hilt. Not just the funny faces but the unexpected delivery. Even the MTRCB, probably out of hilarity, forgot to cut that scene where Eugene uttered the synonym of vomit (or throw up) as an expression of surprise.

The deglamorized Dingdong Dantes as the leading man was a perfect match for the ambitious Kimmy and also for the lovable Dora. Although the Clark Kent look-alike character was a bit out of logic, it has substance and was instrumental in the twists and turns of the story.

A feel good movie with a happy ending, the emotional part would certainly touch the hearts of siblings and even parents in the audience. A small part in the movie but with a lot of impact was the presence of Mikky, the askal. The stray dog effectively symbolized the pet’s valuable role in the world of humans.

Aside from Eugene and Dingdong, the movie got a pretty good support from Ariel Ureta as the twins’ father, Zanjoe Marudo who played the good samaritan who helped Kimmy, Baron Geisler as the main contravida and Miriam Quiambao for her nice portrayal of an emotionally and physically abused office secretary. Not to forget the kidnappers led by Gabby Eigenmann and Archie Alemania.

The bit players were known actors like Vhong Navarro, Marvin Agustin, Erik Santos, Christian Bautista and Paolo Ballesteros who all donned a waiter’s costume in the party sequence. Mark Bautista was in a scene as a doctor while Regine Velasquez played the tutor who twisted Dora’s tongue to blurt out the slangy Tagalog equivalent of wings.

Also playing bit roles and extras were Leo Rialp, Rufa Mae Quinto, Mura as the herbolario and Paolo Contis. Jinggoy Estrada has a very short appearance, presumably that of an office janitor.

Kimmy Dora opened in the theaters on September 2 but after 9 days, the crowd was still surprisingly large. The balcony area of a Megamall cinema was almost full before and during the last full show. Considering that there were two theaters in Megamall that showed Kimmy Dora, it’s a sure sign of a box office success.

And if a movie could be gauged by the reaction of the audience, Kimmy Dora will certainly pass for the best picture of the year.

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