[MMFF 2014] ‘My Big Bossing’ Review: Three’s a crowd
After suffering a firestorm of criticism during last year’s MMFF, the newly franchised Bossing seriesgets a complete conceptual overhaul in My Big Bossing.
In the sequel to last year’s controversial box-office hit, My Big Bossing drops the pretense of a feature-length story in place of a trilogy of comedic episodes. But while this may sound like a play for credibility, the strategy feels more like a patchwork solution to the loss of Bimby Aquino (who now appears in another MMFF entry, The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin 2).
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Without Bimby Aquino in the cast, My Big Bossing becomes a more focused effort between Vic Sotto and Ryzza Mae Dizon. Blatant product placement has been replaced for more subtle (but still glaring) marketing intrusions.
These supposed “improvements” don’t address the more fundamental problem of the film’s stories. While one of episodes stands out, the rest of the film borders on incomprehensible drudgery.
My Big Bossing starts off on the wrong foot with Sirena. Directed by Tony Reyes, Sirena isa fantasy comedy that feels more like an episode of television than a cinematic experience. But it’s the episode’s sheer lack of story that makes Sirena such a narrative drag.
When Jessa (Ryzza Mae Dizon) wishes to become a mermaid to win an upcoming swimming competition, she gets exactly what she wants. Alongside her uncle Bossing (Vic Sotto), Jessa realizes that fish fins aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
It’s the typical retelling of the fabled monkey’s paw, but with as a little narrative drive as comprehensibly possible. Sirena, though mildly entertaining due to the off-kilter banter between Sotto and Dizon, is ultimately weighed down by an appalling lack of conflict. One scene just moves arbitrarily to the next without any real spine to bring it together.
The episode is capped by an admirable but predictable moral lesson, and by the end of the episode, Jessa quite literally wishes her problems away. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for this disappointing opening episode.
Director Marlon Rivera’s horror comedy Taktak is the film’s real surprise, and is quite easily the best among the trilogy of episodes. When well-known reporter Vince Enriquez (Vic Sotto) becomes skeptical of the powers of a young spirit-medium named Angel (Ryzza Mae Dizon), Vince tries to catch Angel at her own scam. But when the scam turns out to be as real as the ghosts that are plaguing Angel and Vince, we soon discover that the real haunting isn’t from the undead, but the unfinished business that they left in their wake.
Taktak provides a number of expected jokes, but it’s the episode’s strong emotional anchor that elevates it above the other 3 episodes. Aside from Taktak’s surprisingly engaging story, Vic Sotto delivers a glimmer of pathos in a performance that could easily been phoned in by the veteran comedian. For a solid and resonating moment, Vic Sotto proves that he still has the chops of an astounding dramatic actor.
If the Bossing franchise provides nothing more than the material for Sotto to stretch his acting muscles then the MMFF would be in good shape, looking forward to future entries.
Unfortunately, My Big Bossing once again falls back into its preference for stale narratives in its final espisode, Princesa. Ironically, Princesa is also the film’s most visually engaging episode. Beautifully designed and colorfully stylized, director Joyce Bernal transports audiences to a fantasy world of princesses and princes. But the illusion doesn’t last very long when the story is about as energetic as a limp rabbit.
Victoria (Ryzza Mae Dizon) is a princess in hiding. After being separated from her royal parents at birth, Victoria is hidden away by the royal doctor, Torius (Vic Sotto) to avoid the scorn of her evil aunt and uncle.
But while the premise is simple enough for a straightforward fantasy comedy, the script itself doesn’t provide enough substance to make Prinsesa the climactic end it was supposed to be. The cast is bolstered by inclusion of the likes of Nikki Gil, Zoren Legaspi and Niño Muhlach, but the talent is wasted on a story that simply does have the material to allow them to perform outside of some key scenes towards the episode’s end.
My Big Bossing presents audiences with a final episode that, though pretty to look at, is only skin deep.
The future of Bossings
Aside from Taktak (and even that suffers from its own problems), My Big Bossing is a largely forgettable endeavor. It won’t attract the warranted scorn of the original film, but it also won’t go down as a sudden leap into masterpiece cinema.
My Big Bossing is still a vast improvement from the first film, and the newly incorporated episodic treatment is presents a unique opportunity for Vic Sotto to do something more than cookie-cutter comedies.
The reason for this is that the newly adopted episodic structure opens up the doors for some real interesting stories starring Vic Sotto and Ryzza Mae Dizon. They just need the right kind of scripts to make the most out of the duo’s inherent comedic talents. But given the track record of the MMFF, that might be a long time before that happens. – Rappler.com
Zig Marasigan is a freelance screenwriter and director who believes that cinema is the cure for cancer. Follow him on Twitter at @zigmarasigan.