'Wander Bra' review: Boob humor

The introduction of the titular undergarment which turns Barbara (Kakai Bautista), a miserable and loveless dreamer who is constantly being physically abused by her uncle (Gardo Versoza), into a beautiful superheroine (Myrtle Sarrosa) is more a severe turn for the worse than a real saving grace that has been running on unabashed inanity.

See, Joven Tan’s film is most entertaining when it was a pointless pastiche of mindless and mostly irreverent gags. The superhero routine only muddles the humor, tempering the nonsense when it is essentially nonsense that makes the entire feature somewhat worthwhile. 

NOBODY. Kakai Bautista and friend in a scene from 'Wander Bra.'

NOBODY. Kakai Bautista and friend in a scene from Wander Bra.

'

Replicating the giddiness

Wander Bra is probably the closest Tan gets to replicating the giddiness of what could be his lone and hilariously unintended masterpiece, Echoserang Frog (2014).

Echoserang Frog, about the struggles of semi-celebrity host Shalala to make an indie film to improve his floundering career, blends biting satire and self-deprecating wit to paint an absurd but strangely realistic portrait of the creative procedure that gives birth to the movies that Tan frequently churns out.

By stripping his work of any pretentions of having to say anything pertinent, Tan comes up with something that manages to strike at the heart of what it feels to be in the embarrassing fringes of the industry/

For a while, Wander Bra feels like it is treading the same silly route Echoserang Frog took towards its accidental glory.

Bautista, like Shalala, has carved a niche in local show-business as the reliable actress who has no qualms taking the role of the funny woman of unconventional looks who gets romantically involved with handsome and virile men such as in Julius Alfonso’s Harry & Patty (2018) and Percy Intalan’s My Fairy Tale Love Story (2018).

Here, she goes through the motions of playing the part, but with the blatant lack of any overwrought lesson, the relentlessly objectionable comedy that centers on Bautista’s distinct looks at least doesn’t jar with any forced morality about how beauty inside matters.

FROM NOBODY TO SOMEBODY. Using a bra, Kakai's character turns her to a superhero, played by Myrtle.

FROM NOBODY TO SOMEBODY. Using a bra, Kakai's character turns her to a superhero, played by Myrtle.

Figment of a plot

The film is consistently grounded on bad taste.

It just doesn’t flinch about sourcing its giggles from meanness. It not just perpetuates stereotypes, it also exploits them by mining laughs from Bautista or her gay sidekick (Lassy) being made fun of, or her gay sidekick himself.

Wander Bra is as fun as being stuck for an hour or so in a vulgar comedy club where the humor hinges on the host’s ability to abruptly mold jokes out of other people’s imperfections. To say that none of the gags is fun is pure hypocrisy because there are jokes that land with vicious pleasure. However, the entertainment available here is always laced with some sort of guilt.

The enjoyment dwindles when Wander Bra suddenly decides to have a figment of a plot.

Bautista, who is probably the best thing in the film, suddenly shares the screen with Sarrosa in a plot where the typical Bautista on-screen partner (Zeus Collins) is confused whether he is in love with Bautista or her more physically appealing superhero alterego.

This is where Tan exposes the flimsiness of his storytelling. Nonsense does not need to be sloppy, but Wander Bra is simply reckless in its attempt to carve a storyline out of the nonsense that pervades its very soul. This is the classic case of the story interfering with the fun, and the worst part is that the story isn’t really anything that’s worth the prolonged lulls.

Stark stupidity

Wander Bra does not attempt to impart any wisdom. In fact, it is heavily reliant on boob humor, on stark stupidity.

If only its silliness was built on a better foundation, then it could’ve been a film that is so bad, it’s good. As it is, it’s just mediocre camp. – 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.