Monday, January 9, 2017

Five Pinoy Comedies

FIVE PINOY COMEDY “CLASSICS” with JOEY DE LEON (mini-reviews by Andrew Leavold)

[See also my other Joey de Leon reviews for Alyas Batman En Robin (1991) and Little Boy Blue: Tiny Terrestrial (1991)]

Smith & Wesson (dir. Tony Y. Reyes, 1988) It's Eighties buddy cop flicks - with Joey de Leon and Vic Sotto as "Mayumi Vice" tracking down a drug ring led by Paquito Diaz and his head goons Rene Requiestas (as Don Johnson Wacks!) and Tsing Tong Tsai. Tito Sotto has a cameo on the Hong Kong set spouting pigeon Chinese, and brother Val Sotto operates a Bloodsport tournament in which Vic must fight to the death. The verdict: NUTS, in a good way! Also stars Beverly Vergel, Panchito, Paquito Diaz, Mon Alvir and Jaime Fabregas.

Elvis And James (dir. Tony Y. Reyes, 1989) takes on Fifties music icons via Eighties high school comedies, with Joey de Leon playing Elvis Presto with stick-on Brillo sideburns and Rene Requiestas as the almost Dean-alike James Ducuycoy, two delusional thirty-something delinquents in leather jackets and Brylcream smoking, preening and mocking their way through some classic rock'n'roll evergreens. Whether on a beach or in the cold in Baguio, the two don't seem to fit anywhere, but still manage to woo their girls, Long Tall Sally and Marilyn Monroy, via a recreation of the competition in Dirty Dancing - this time with Rene sniffing armpits and dry-humping his companion's leg. To demonstrate just how self-referential Regal's series had become, dwarf sidekick Noel "Ungga" Ayala appears as a diminutive customer in a music shop called Sek's Organs. First he complains loudly that he can't reach a paino's keyboard, then turns to Joey de Leon and complains about his disappointing rate of pay for acting in Starzan!

SuperMouse And The Robo-Rats (dir. Tony Y. Reyes, 1989) Orphaned baby is left at a fair and grows into a carnival barker (Joey de Leon) who transforms via a magic amulet into a mouse-eared, whiskered superhero and saves his carnie friends from Paquito Diaz's goons, bank robbers, and a spaceship full of Robo-Rats. Gap-toothed Rene Requiestas is at his best playing hapless Doro the Magician, and Joey and Rene's bug-eyed dwarf sidekick from Starzan (Noel “Ungga” Ayala) performs a karaoke love song FROM HELL. The best bit, however, is the Star Wars moment when the lead Robo-Rat (a furry and bewhiskered Ruel Vernal) takes off his Darth Vader helmet and announces to Joey in a helium voice "I am your father…"! With Manilyn Reynes, Carmina Villaroel and Lucita Soriano.

Small Medium Large: Fits All Sizes (dir. Joey de Leon & Tony Y. Reyes, 1990) Amiable, if ultimately pointless, Starzan spinoff features Rene (Cheeta-eh) Requiestas as a penniless probinsyano, his usual dwarf sidekick Noel “Ungga” Ayala as a cigarette and sweepstake ticket vendor, and child-like giant Jimmy Santos as the titular trio “Fernando, Paul, Junior” (Fernando Poe Jr, geddit?). Also stars Panchito, and with a brief cameo by Joey de Leon. Written by Joey and frequent collaborator Reyes, the ostensibly plotless Small Medium Large exists solely to showcase each comic’s pecularities, which include mangling pop songs, randomly throwing insults and in-jokes, hurling the poached egg-eyed, mulleted Ungga through the air like an errant Cabbage Patch Doll, and bursting into a spontaneous chorus of Prince’s “Kiss” whenever the action flags.

Goosebusters (onscreen title Mumu? Anong Malay Ko!/"Monster? What Do I Know!" dir. Tony Y. Reyes, 1991) Comedian/co-writer Joey de Leon and director Reyes continue their winning streak of Hollywood lampoons, this time Ghost AND Ghostbusters, and with a sideswipe at Silence Of The Lambs! Joey plays Patrick Sisi, a gallery owner falling in love with striking Demi Amore, aka Angel (Racel Tuazon), while accidentally eating the favourite pet goose of his neighbourhood serial killer (called "Father", apparently, judging from his knuckle tatts). With his bug-eyed, magnificently mulletted dwarf sidekick Charlie Sheng (Noel "Ungga" Ayala), he attempts to contact Father's first victim, but batty clairvoyant Groovy Goldberg - Whoopi she ain't! - instead conjures up the ghost of Mahal the Goose and it enters Angel's body, leaving her a honking simpleton to the horror of her father (Panchito). Meanwhile Ungga and the next door kids don the Goosebuster overalls and ecto-backpacks to battle a twenty-foot goose skeleton spitting laser beams from its eye sockets. Huh? As truly insane as it sounds, with regulation musical numbers (The Sound Of Music's "Do Re Mi" is now a ditty about cooking seafood), and a disturbing level of dwarf abuse, in which Ungga is kicked, beaten, slapped, caught in a sun roof and thrown upside down against a chair, all in the name of Comedy Gold.

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