‘Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap’ review: Humor among thieves

It is important to note while watching Marius Talampas’ Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap that the film is set in a Philippines where child star L. A. Lopez is regarded as one of the country’s most inspiring singers. His hit song Yakap has the poignancy to embolden the ailing soul of a defeated dreamer back to hoping to be the best in his dubious profession.

Stark parody

It isn’t so much that the film uses its world that feels like a stark parody of ours to veil its nihilistic and amoral endeavors.

In fact, it is highly unlikely that Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap has any other endeavor aside from telling its well-engineered gag from start to finish. It doesn’t voluntarily promote criminality or celebrate as heroes those who live through nefarious means. It only wants to make its audience laugh, whether or not its methods offend tastes or trample upon social expectations relating to onscreen decency.

It is defiant in that it has chosen to be blind to norms and mores all for the sake of comedy that is consistently effective. It shocks and breaks rules, whipping out a shining, shimmering shlong for gangs of goofy goons, vengeful loan sharks, and horny businessmen to hilariously chase after. It crafts a surprisingly very intricate plot, without ever losing touch of its oddball senselessness.

Simply put, Talampas’ film just works very hard all for those very precious chuckles. It earns them.

Clearly, Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap isn’t some sloppily put-together film that relies on easy gags to entertain. It’s actually very well-crafted. It looks all dolled up, with bright colors to mirthfully garb the poverty that serves as its setting for its central plot of a ludicrous heist gone hilariously wrong. Yes, overwhelming poverty still fuels the film, with its characters motivated by finding a way out of being toiling farmers or rising the ranks in a syndicate that thrives in a depressed community.

Thankfully, Talampas doesn’t settle for drab moroseness and instead cheekily paints it with satirical hues. He knows he has nothing notable to say about the state of the nation, but he can at least exploit its pressing problems for self-reflexive fun.

THIEVES. The trio - Toto, Eman, and Carlo think about to do with their lives.

Three idiots

Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap centers on 3 idiots who just can’t accomplish even the simplest of thefts.

Eman (Pepe Herrera), the leader of the futile trio completed by Toto (Jerald Napoles) and Carlo (Jelson Bay), however doesn’t have any other options in life, since he is the only son of the gang’s legendary leader (Pen Medina). When Nicoy (Paolo Contis), an undercover cop, joins their gang, it seems that there is finally hope for Eman and his crew to finally get recognized as top thieves. As it turns out, Nicoy’s girlfriend (Kate Alejandrino) has gotten word that her relatives from the province have unearthed a golden penis-shaped relic that will be sold to a businessman for a million pesos. Nicoy tips Eman so that he can stage the heist and restore his reputation.

Talampas doesn't try to carve heroes out of nincompoops.

He isn’t proposing that his film’s characters grow out of their stupidity or their proclivity for wrongdoing. Instead, he insists that Eman, Toto and Carlo serve as shticks from start to finish. Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap is an elaborate and sprightly gag. It doesn’t want to be bothered by sudden shifts in character if only to serve the purpose of repurposing all the nonsense for some higher motive.

The film only ambitions to be ludicrous and irreverent and it accomplishes that ambition because all of its elements are directed towards building a comedy that never falters or bows down for tedious appropriateness.

Herrera, Napoles and Bay are uproarious here. All former sidekicks, they reveal themselves as clever comedians whose antics are more than enough to carry an entire feature. 

BIG CHANCE. With news of gold, the 3 are given a chance to prove themselves.

Laughter as dissent

Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap is undeniably refreshing.

It is adamantly a distraction, a ruse that appropriates grave lawlessness for its banter and satire. While the film can be criticized for irresponsibility in depicting a society where violence, vice and impropriety are all around with no virtue in sight, it doesn’t remove the fact that its relentless parody of social ills also serve as a potent mockery of toxic masculinity that still pervades.

Laughter can still serve as dissent. – 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.