Philippine economy

‘My Little Bossings’: The horrible business of show business

Zig Marasigan

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Tedious and wasteful, it is a train wreck of a film that uses its screen time to steal its audience’s money and peddle its advertisers

MY LITTLE BOSSINGS. The move makes no apologies for banking on its big name stars. Curious movie-goers will most likely be lured by the novelty of Bimby Aquino and Ryzza Mae Dizon. Screengrabs from trailer.

MANILA, Philippines – My Little Bossings is a family-oriented comedy with a cleverly simple premise: When the wealthy Baba Atienza (Kris Aquino) is wrongly accused of fraud, her bookkeeper Torky (Vic Sotto) becomes the trusted guardian of her son Justin (Bimby Aquino). But when Torky moves Justin in with his niece Ice (Aiza Seguerra) and the orphan Ching (Ryzza Mae Dizon), he quickly discovers that a household of clashing personalities is more than he can handle.  

While it has every opportunity to entertain, My Little Bossings squanders the chance by failing to try. Instead, it is a train wreck of a film that uses its screen time to steal its audience’s money and peddle its advertisers. The result is the worst kind of show business that’s more preoccupied with product placement than story. 

Stars over story

My Little Bossings makes no apologies for banking on its big name stars. Curious moviegoers will most likely be lured by the novelty of Bimby Aquino and Ryzza Mae Dizon; but outside of the film’s unsurprising amount of star power, the film offers absolutely nothing else. Dizon provides most of the film’s much-needed charm, but even that feels wasted as the rest of the cast feels uninterested in making an effort to entertain.  

The film meanders through a labyrinth of disjointed scenes, each desperately trying to pull out a laugh from its intended audience. Unfortunately, the film assumes that its audience will be so stupefied by novelty that very little regard is given to anything else. Since the production itself feels blatantly amateur, it’s hard to believe that there was a guided effort to make My Little Bossings anything more than an excuse to pilfer the pockets of the Filipino audience. 

My Little Bossings suffers from an atrocious lack of quality, alongside an obvious neglect for story. Despite its crystal clear premise, the narrative has trouble keeping itself together as it swings blindly from one sequence to the next. There’s no escaping the feeling that the production feels rushed. From the script to the final edit, each component of My Little Bossings feels like one crammed deadline after the next.  

The agency of advertising

It’s hard not to mistake My Little Bossings as a long advertisement masquerading as a film. Products are paraded in some of the most distasteful examples of local product placement while no effort is made to weave them into the narrative. Whether it’s through detergent or instant noodles, the film bludgeons its audience with one product intrusion after another. 

But what makes this particularly damning is that audiences are expected to pay for this kind of entertainment, not the other way around. 

Half way through the film, Bimby and Ryzza Mae begin to look like products themselves, dangled in front of the audience in a desperate effort to have you buy into their performance. But while the same can be said about any form of escapist entertainment, it’s appalling how My Little Bossings makes absolutely no effort to hide it. 

It’s hard to believe that director Marlon Rivera had started his directing career making fun of such tacky advertising. In his debut feature, Babae Sa Septic Tank, Rivera showcases a known brand of soap in a scene that is both intentionally absurd and obviously satirical. But in My Little Bossings, there’s not a hint of humor in any of its product placements. Hopefully, the irony isn’t lost on Rivera. 

Tedious, wasteful…successful

My Little Bossings is a good representation of everything wrong with the commercial movie industry. It’s tedious, wasteful and, unfortunately, a resounding success. The Metro Manila Film Festival has long been criticized for its lack of quality, and it’s hard to defend it against examples like My Little Bossings. While other film failures have at least their noble intentions, My Little Bossings has nothing but its box-office receipts.

Unfortunately, that’s all that seems to matter. My Little Bossings is a manufactured attempt to steal its audience’s money by convincing them that blatant advertising is a form of entertainment as long as there are big name stars attached to make the endorsements.  

My Little Bossings is the kind of film that has come to define the Metro Manila Film Festival. Audiences who have long given up on the local movie industry need only cite My Little Bossings as a clear example on why they continue to do so. 

It’s all part of the business, unfortunately, and it’s the audience that has to pay. –

Zig Marasigan is a freelance screenwriter and director who believes that cinema is the cure for cancer. Follow him on Twitter at @zigmarasigan.

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