It’s Not Just a Bag, It’s Prada…From Greenhills
by Don Jaucian
Segunda Mano (Second Hand, 2011)
D: Bb. Joyce Bernal
C: Kris Aquino, Dingdong Dantes, Angelica Panganiban, Bangs Garcia, Helen Gamboa
Dingdong Dantes for all the awards—”awards” meaning any award that recognizes the Outstanding Use of Crazy Eyes, Dantes’s (or Dingdong’s, dammit, this isn’t a Divine Comedy reference) basic acting strategy for his “batshit insane” scenes in Segunda Mano. His eyes twitch like a malfunctioning wind-up doll and his facial spasms make him look convincingly menacing at times like he’s about to bash his daughter’s head against the wall. And we kinda hope he does, the way he does with Helen Gamboa and Kris Aquino, which should earn him national adulation, really. The way he bashes Kris against the furniture and fixtures around the house, eliciting a resounding applause from all the people who’s tired of the President’s sister’s antics.
Segunda Mano and Kris Aquino are inseparable. Kris plays out her character, Mabel, with plodding seriousness, while the director actually wants to poke fun at the film’s hokey premise. Kris’s idea of “serious acting” is looking deathly pale under several layers of foundation and delivering her lines in a tired Jacklyn Jose voice. The pains of living up to her tag as the “Queen of Pinoy Horror” is written all over her face, the way she desperately tries to convey shock in her shrieks and limited emotional range.
But Segunda Mano isn’t really that hard to like. It’s hilarious and playfully smart, something you’d expect from a Joyce Bernal film. Sure, ghosts flicker in and out of the film but they play second fiddle to the film’s domestic violence subplot, which is just accessory to Kris Aquino’s overacting. The film works best in its comedic moments, whether unintentional or not, drawing parallels to Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell but not quite. Most of the film’s laughs come from Bangs Garcia, Mabel’s designer-toting BFF who owns a secondhand bag shop. Her character suggests a better direction that the film could have taken but, of course, this film is all about Kris Aquino.
That she’s thrown all over the house in an unforgettable fight scene (Dingdong Dantes punching Helen Gamboa in the stomach!) is just cherry on top. And, for the love of God, she’s survived several massacres (in movies) and STDs, it’s unthinkable that a haunted handbag will take her out.
But Segunda Mano’s most memorable shot is that last look of the car wreck being drawn out of the Marikina River, with Angelica Panganiban looking out the backseat window, straight out of an artista notebook. And let us not forget that Panganiban was once Krissy, an accurate impression of Kris Aquino’s nightly showbiz rumormonger in the now defunct SNN, complete with the ridiculous couture poses and Philip Stein watches.