'My 2 Mommies' review: Far from ground-breaking
Eric Quizon’s My 2 Mommies is far from ground-breaking.
It borrows the basic plot of Lino Brocka’s Ang Tatay Kong Nanay (1978), about a gay man, outstandingly played by Quizon’s father Dolphy, who is forced to portray the role of a foster father to the son of an erstwhile lover.
Quizon only updates the narrative, transposing the story in a more modern setting where same-sex unions are no longer taboo. (READ: It's a different mother-son relationship in 'My 2 Mommies')
Quizon’s update produces very interesting points.
In My 2 Mommies, Manu, portrayed by Paolo Ballesteros, is the actual father of the boy he is forced to be the parent of. The back-story of his unlikely fatherhood raises the subject of gender fluidity, which is actually a touchy topic in one of the earlier scenes of the film where Manu and his domestic partner Ronnie, played by Joem Bascon, get into a minor squabble about his past relationships with girls.
It almost seemed like the film was confidently venturing towards more progressive territories. Unfortunately, everything’s just a shell.
Jose Javier Reyes’ screenplay fails to live to its full potential, contenting itself with clichéd witticisms that suit his stereotypical presentation of gays and their lifestyle.
Understandably, the goal here is to entertain and to make sure that the narrative of a gay man who learns the ropes of being a responsible parent, the film has to hinge on comedy, whether or not the humor it relies on stems from a stinted portrayal of gay men.
It is just frustrating that the film misses the opportunity to expand horizons, insisting on taking the conventional route for easy laughs at the expense of propagating a backward portrayal of gay men as hilarious in their cruel wit and perpetually confused.
Earnest but clueless
Clearly, earnestness is the film’s biggest asset.
The film is laden with the purest intentions. Its cluelessness, however, mars its noble ambitions. Ballesteros has turned into a crutch. Because the actor can charm his way out of playing a mostly insufferable stereotype, the film fails to establish a convincing character arc where he earns not just a happy ending but the pathos of the audience. He starts out as a clown and still ends up as one. Comedy has become a liability here.
Quizon inelegantly stitches together the jokes and drama, resulting in a film that is incapable of determining whether it really wants to be taken seriously. Sadly, its humor isn’t even well-played. The gags are old and are more often mean-spirited.
The twists and turns the film takes to mold Manu’s transformation into a parent are dubious too. The film can’t always utilize its effort to be funny and light-hearted as an excuse for lazy plotting. It has to earn its moments. It has to substantiate its laudable pursuits and not dampen them with obsolete perspectives.
Quite a misfire
My 2 Mommies is quite a misfire.
It aims to touch hearts but only succeeds in painting a confused picture where its progressive motives and antiquated presentation clash. – 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.