We made it a point to watch Mes de Guzman’s “Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha,” because it was Sharon Cuneta’s comeback film.
After the screening, we tried to figure out why she chose to do it, rather than the other offers and options available to her.
First, the whimsical folk tale that engendered the contemporary plot’s main problem and consequent resolution may have appealed to her.
Indeed, the animated sequence that tells the folk tale, about a family that brings luck to the people it visits, is one of the movie’s “plus” viewing points.
Unfortunately, once Sharon’s contemporary story as the unlucky Cora gets going, the link between the tale and her sad life becomes decreasingly pertinent.
In fact, she’s so unlucky and thus unhappy with her faithless husband and footloose kids that she becomes an alcoholic. Until she decides to stop wallowing in her misery and hires Niño Muhlach’s character to find the good-luck family, in the heartfelt if desperate hope that her own life and prospects will be magically transformed.
Cora’s constant companion during this long but rather unfocused unfolding is her live-in general-factotum serf, Bebang (Moi Bien), who’s given the role of her comedic career (to date), as Sharon’s “sidekick.”
In many scenes, she’s the lucky one, because she shares the screen with the Megastar, no less, who generally acts as “straight woman” to Moi’s jokes and jibes.
The film’s unexpected comedic element could have been another reason why Sharon chose to do this movie—it deviates from her “signature” dramatic-romantic big-screen projection.
So, if she wanted a crowd-pleaser instead of a heart-throbber and -tugger, for a change, she got what she wanted.
Unfortunately, even the movie’s pervasive “fun” factor is compromised by a lack of focus, “anchoring” and follow-through.
There may be fun-filled bits, but they don’t sufficiently add up to a cogent story being “connectedly” told, and too many scenes feel like they’re “floating,” rather than pushing the storytelling to its clear and “solved” conclusion.
An example of this is the long subplot that details Cora’s failed career as a TV program host, which does take satirical jabs at the industry, but unproductively fizzles away forthwith.
Other instances of lack of follow-through include the wishy-washy way that the good-luck family members are depicted after they move in with Cora.
Yes, her dried-up rose plants burst into a bountiful bower of blooms overnight—but, what next, what else?
Thus, when Cora gets fed up and realizes that she’s been used and abused all this while, her big, all-out “emotional breakdown” and “accusation” scene, which is powerfully painful and deeply felt, ends up feeling like too much of a good thespic thing, because it seemingly comes from out of nowhere.
Ditto for the sudden reappearance of some of her absent and errant loved ones, so the storytelling manages to end on an upbeat note, despite all of its downbeat and often disconnected bits and beats.
Luckily for viewers, the performances turned in by Sharon, Niño and Moi provide enough thespic “glue” to hold parts of the film together.
To be fair to herself and her thespic “cred,” however, Sharon should act in another film real soon that will give her the unarguably effective and even triumphant big-screen comeback she deserves.
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