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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Film review: Hating Kapatid

An 'A' for Juday and Sarah as comedy actors 

By Leah C. Salterio 
The Philippine Star 

Updated July 28, 2010 12:00 AM 

Film review: Hating Kapatid

MANILA, Philippines - The comic-drama Hating Kapatid reminds moviegoers about Magkapatid, a dramatic vehicle with a strikingly similar plot about sisters, with Judy Ann as the younger sister of Sharon Cuneta.

This time around, it’s Judy Ann’s turn to play big sis to singer-actress Sarah Geronimo in Hating Kapatid, a light but touching story about sibling love and bonding. Judy Ann and Sarah are two sisters who grew up without their parents around, since the old folks had to work abroad to give their daughters a better life.

Judy Ann, who plays the strong-willed and protective Rica, was only in her teens, while Sarah, who is the obedient and dutiful Cecilia, could barely talk when their parents (Tonton Gutierrez and Cherie Pie Picache) left them to work in Libya. The sisters were entrusted to their grandmother (Gina Pareño), who helped raise her two grandchildren by selling firecrackers in Bulacan.

Even with the guidance of their lola, Rica strongly felt the need to stand as both father and mother to Cecilia while the latter was growing up, that’s why she was the strict and over-protective ate. When their parents returned home from abroad after 20 years, the story took a different turn. The family moved to a new house and, thanks to the hard-earned dollars, got to enjoy the comforts of life, including a new car.

Cecilia, who used to be dependent merely on her Ate Rica, made an effort to get close to her parents and know them better. This made her Ate Rica jealous.

Rica detested the arrival of her parents. She felt it altered both her and her sister’s lives after 20 years, so she had no qualms of showing them her feelings. She was detached, indifferent and totally uninterested about everything that her parents wanted to do for them. This created an emotional rift between Rica and her family, prompting her to leave their modern home and return to their old house in Bulacan.

Director Wenn Deramas weaves his proven-and-tested comedy formula to bring Hating Kapatid to box-office success. Given a very lean cast, he was able to allow everyone to get a slice of the story and substantial big screen exposure, as well.

Vice Ganda was billed in an introductory role in the movie. This was perhaps an oversight on the part of Viva Films, since Vice Ganda made his big screen debut in the Vilma Santos starrer, All My Life, shown last year.

Undoubtedly, it was Vice who provided most of the comic relief in the film, with outstanding timing for his punch lines. Even when the scene was not focused on him, he managed to get the laughs with his side-splitting one-liners, riotous facial expressions and impeccable comic timing. This comedian certainly knows how to entertain his audience.

The seasoned Gina Pareño, as expected, was witty and hilarious. It certainly does not alienate her to work with both old and young stars. She managed to shine on her own and bring her acting experience to the fore.

Casting JC de Vera as leading man to Judy Ann provided the shrieks and screams from the fans. The good-looking JC, although wasn’t given much acting highlights, added eye candy to the comic-drama fare. His every close-up ignited the big screen and delighted his female fans. This young leading man obviously has a growing following — thanks to his constant TV exposure.

Luis Manzano, as the love interest of Sarah, got to have his own comic moments that complemented his scenes with his leading lady. He knew when to deliver and deliver he did.

While there are a number of amusing scenes in the film that elicited the laughs, which direk Wenn is known for (he is not a box-office comedy director for nothing), there was also emotional heft displayed in the story, courtesy of the two lead stars.

Judy Ann, of course, is better known for her dramatic prowess. Of late, however, it is her comic starrers that delivered the dough, like her two blockbusters with hubby Ryan Agoncillo — Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo and Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo.

Sarah, for her part, also made huge box-office returns with her last two films, both opposite John Lloyd Cruz — You Changed My Life and A Very Special Love. Credit her for her comic timing that also endeared her with moviegoers who patronized her big screen projects.

The scene in Hating Kapatid where the sisters reunite after having a misunderstanding was a tearjerker. Another scene where mom Cherie Pie confronted the calloused Rica was also a weepie.

Judy Ann and Sarah joining forces in one film certainly added box-office muscle to Hating Kapatid. It took a long while for Viva Films to pull off a casting coup like this one, but it was certainly worth the wait.

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