Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kung Fu Divas (Onat Diaz, 2013)

The kick-ass trailer of Kung Fu Divas is such a doozy that those who have seen it must be the ones responsible for the film's strong legs at the box-office. They came in droves bringing along a partner or their families in tow. The word of mouth campaigning is still ongoing through its last week.

It's been awhile since I heard kids and their parents laughing simultaneously during a movie screening. I also had a grand time. The kooky premise of a beauty contest and the rare pairing of two comedians from rival television networks are a match in heaven.

Of all the celebrities I've seen in person, Marian Rivera is unforgettable. She stands out for her radiant charm and stunning beauty. Add to that a curvaceous body, a flawless complexion, a sweet smile and... there goes my boxers. The breathtaking Marian is a true makalaglag briefs lady.

It is no wonder then that Marian Rivera's character Samantha is expected to romp off with the Hiyas ng Dalampasigan beauty contest trophy. There's a wickedly funny scene showing the contestants withdrawing one by one from the race after seeing the beauteous Samantha enter the contest.

There's one other scene that I still relish because of Marian's comic presence. Watch out when she is being led to the soundproofed pedicab. She is so much into the music that she makes a nifty, charming shoulder move. I loved that she plays the scene with a Buster Keaton face and the comic timing of Charlie Chaplin.

Meanwhile, Charlotte (Ai-Ai de las Alas), a regular contestant for more than a decade, gives Samantha a good fight. Charlotte comes from a family of beauty queens and feels this year is her time to reign as queen. Indeed destiny is stamped firmly on her chin, errr, on her back.

Kung Fu Divas is a rarity. This entertaining example of beauty contest-themed comedy/adventure comes only once in a blue moon. Nay, make it once in a total eclipse of a blue moon. The last film I recall of this type is Joey Gosiengfiao's classic Temptation Island. The cult classic chronicles the interaction of four bitchy beauty queens stranded on an island. Kung Fu Divas cribbed the beauty contest flyer invite scene from the 1980 film.

It is interesting to note that Marian Rivera starred in a bland remake of Temptation Island. I was disappointed when she failed to bag the coveted role of Suzanne Reyes, which was essayed by Lovi Poe. Lovi was good but Marian seems to be a better deadpan comic.

A recent local film was also inspired by Temptation Island. Momzillas features two women fighting over a man. They get stranded on an island and forced to work together in order to survive. Sounds like Kung Fu Divas? Even though it featured Maricel Soriano and Eugene Domingo, Momzillas isn't spunky and hilarious enough to compete with Kung Fu Divas.

Kung Fu Divas is a refreshing comedy to watch unlike the stale Momzillas. It takes us to exotic places via the wonders of a green screen. The visual comic touches are unique such as the talent showdown of the two rivals. The film is not perfect though. I'm not satisfied with the ending. It misses out on the 'beauty within' concept. Or, maybe it did not miss out? No matter how hard I try, I can't recall how Charlotte ended up as a queen. Well, I still remember the funny stuff and that's more than enough to make my day.

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