‘Meant to Beh’ review: Nonsense above everything
“What’s wrong with a little entertainment? We all need a little celebrity,” travel magazine editor Andrea, played by Dawn Zulueta, asks during a meeting where she proposes to feature famous personalities on the cover of her magazine. Her board approves her pitch but only after she flashes a series of photos of superstar Benjo, played by Daniel Matsunaga, which turn all the manly members of the board into fawning homosexuals.
The joke is of course hardly original and a little bit obsolete in an age where sexual preferences should no longer be a punch line.
It has been played countless times before in countless sitcoms and movies. The joke, however, still manages to work primarily because of the clever casting of Roi Vinzon. Vinzon, who is most famous for macho villain roles, is now the leader of the band of supposed serious media executives who inexplicably fall for Matsunaga’s charms.
Now, Chris Martinez’s Meant to Beh is meant to be more than just a little entertainment. It also features plenty of celebrities, from Zulueta, Matsunaga, Vinzon to Vic Sotto, who plays Ron, Andrea’s husband of more humble tastes. (READ: 5 things to know about the Vic Sotto, Dawn Zulueta movie 'Meant to Beh')
There is also nothing wrong with the film’s clear-minded vision to exaggerate nonsense for the benefit of lowbrow fun. In fact, the film seems to know exactly how to maximize its roster of celebrities to benefit its purpose: Vinzons’s sashaying antics, Zulueta’s elegant allure pitted against Sotto’s more modest charisma, and Baste "Baeby Baste" Granfon, who plays Andrea and Ron’s youngest son, maximizing his cuteness for easy laughs and amusement.
Could have been meatier
The film in turn exposes the meagerness of its ambition and its unwillingness to have its pleasures last beyond its Christmas time playdate.
To answer Andrea’s query, what’s essentially wrong with a little entertainment is if such entertainment in the form of cinema is essentially time-bound, making it disposable right after all of its celebrity-limited fun has gone obsolete and passé. What’s more unfortunate is that there are signs that Meant to Beh could have been a meatier film had it not taken its efforts to over-rely on nonsense.
Its story of a man and a woman who are unwillingly wed and decide to call it quits to serve each other’s happiness has potential to churn out emotions other than outright silliness.
Martinez does serve several tender moments in the film which are unfortunately upended by questionable scenes that are seemingly oblivious to basic morality. While the film teeters to finally carving out very human characters out of its recruited celebrities, it nevertheless betrays those laudable motives with boisterous gags featuring children ready to commit murderous acts for their twisted concept of what a family should be.
Meant to Beh is a confusing affair.
It feels like it is a step-up from the mostly inane comedies Sotto and his gang have been churning out annually, but its low points are frankly too depraved to be forgiven. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ Tirad Pass. Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.