The role of Elsa in Daryll Yap’s #Jowable isn’t exactly a vehicle for an actress to flex her skill and talent.
Most of the film, she has one ambition and that is to finally have a boyfriend. The comedy revolves around her extreme desperation. The drama hovers around her state of single lovelessness. A lazy actress could easily go through the motions of inhabiting the role, mouthing the funny lines, fluttering around in self-deprecation and being gloriously silly and it would have been alright. The silly conceit of Yap’s film would be able to carry itself towards the finish line.
Kim Molina, thankfully, doesn’t just go through the motions of playing a character borne out of comedic circumstance.
Difficult as it is, she strives to turn Elsa into something more than just a clown to laugh at in her most intimate of agonies. She makes the character, amidst the film’s efforts to reduce her to a running joke, into a complex spectacle of emotions – one who is capable of immense entertainment when she is consumed by the silliness of her life’s mission to find someone to love. Molina turns Elsa into someone you root for even when she confesses the surprising logic behind her quest.
Molina is a dynamic presence here.
She proves herself to be a fine comedienne, aware of the fact that Yap’s film thrives on humor that borders on being totally immature. She is frank and vulgar, throwing lines without a hint of shame, all in the effort of exaggerating the yearning, and making her romantic aspirations as cartoonic as possible – even if everything else in the film seems to aspire for very current sentiments and sensibilities.
Yet Molina isn’t satisfied with laughter. She also works very hard for compassion.
Mean and meandering
#Jowable seems mean and meandering in its exploration of its character’s chronic lack of love.
The laughs are definitely squeezed out of insults and inappropriate gags and punchlines. Yap doesn’t seem to see the need to please prudes and goes for the jugular, pursuing jokes that are irreverent, politically incorrect, and boorish. Make no mistake, #Jowable is funny, nearly to a fault.
Thankfully, the film evolves into something more earnest than a gag reel at the expense of a character whose life revolves around her unquenched desire for love.
The film becomes grounded, exchanging its obvious nonsense with uncomplicated and perhaps simplistic observations about what truly matters in life. If the film’s comedy is brash and blunt, its shift towards sentimentality is loud and resounding, climaxing in a very well-acted confessional between Elsa and her mother (Kakai Bautista) that displays the film’s awkward endeavor to mix comedy and drama.
#Jowable is an enjoyable romp.
More than that, it proves that no role is too small or too silly for a fine actress like Molina to showcase her worth. — 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.
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