Empty Carbohydrates
by Don Jaucian

Enteng ng Ina Mo (2011)
D: Tony Reyes
S: Vic Sotto, Ai Ai Delas Alas, Eugene Domingo

Of all the things the filmmakers and cast of Enteng ng Ina Mo should be thankful for, including the massive box office returns and the shady 2nd Best Picture Win, they should heap more credit and appreciation to the gift that is Eugene Domingo. Although she gets less screen time than the lead couple as Rowena, Ina’s (Ai Ai Delas Alas) momol-obsessed best friend (Who wouldn’t be obsessed with making out if your husband is Jon Avila, who thankfully does not have a single dialogue in the film and only appears as a handsome comedic accessory for Domingo?), her absence in the rest of the film’s scenes is glaringly apparent.

Domingo doesn’t merely “light up the screen” whenever she’s present: she makes the viewing experience more pleasant, giving you an idea that what’s playing in front of your eyes is the reason you forked out a hefty amount of money to pay for the ticket price. Her lines are spot on (“Ang laki ng mukha nya, pang-dalawang tao!”), and when she breaks a supposed big drama scene with a mobile wall in tow for Ina to slide against while she cries (“Dito ka umiyak! Mananalo ka ng award,” culled obviously from her Ang Babae sa Septic Tank ways), it’s understandable that you’re laughing on the theater floor.  

But when she’s gone a vacuum exists, further reinforcing the realization that Enteng Ng Ina Mo is a largely unnecessary film that caters only to the holiday crowd dying to be served their yearly dose of cinematic junk food. The addition of Enteng (Vic Sotto) and the world of Encantasia is pointless, dragging the whole movie into a vehicle for these aging stars and their box office prowess. To be fair, the performances of Delas Alas and Sotto are watchable. Delas Alas’s chemistry with Domingo is the stuff of perfection, even the seemingly ad-libbed bits and the scenes cribbed from more popular movies such as No Other Woman.

It’s this pop-cultural consciousness that also makes Enteng Ng Ina Mo more appealing. Of course, this presents Star Cinema an opportunity to flaunt their crowd-winning ways, with Enteng and Ina’s skits parodying A Very Special Love, My Amnesia Girl, and the aforementioned No Other Woman. Delas Alas, Domingo, and Sotto play these scenes straight out from comedy skit wonderland, delivered with impeccable comic timing.  

In the end, Enteng becomes a Subic Bay tourism ad and a failed attempt to flesh out familial relations. Here is Ina, a widow (her previous five husbands all met grisly deaths) managing an extended family and Enteng comes crashing in hoping to be their father figure and Ina’s “knight in the shining shimmering armor” as if she needs a man to complete her existence. Take it from the Pussycat Dolls, girl. You don’t need a man to feel good. You have Eugene Domingo. 


(gifs via 1,2)