KIMMY DORA AND THE TEMPLE OF KIYEME (Joyce Bernal, 2012)
KIMMY DORA AND THE TEMPLE OF KIYEME promises a lot but delivers less. Its predecessor is such a surprise hit both commercially and critically because of the wittiness of Chris Martinez's script and Eugene Domingo's comic timing. Having twins who are extreme opposites of one another as your main characters provides endless ideas for humor, and that's just what the first movie did. Martinez and director Joyce Bernal played around with mistaken identities, sadomasochism, and even reduced the male leads (Dingdong Dantes, Zanjoe Marudo) as objects of desire solely for comedy. The formula was successful. The jokes were fresh. Just don't mention the song number.
The sequel disappoints in a number of ways. First and most obvious reason is the injection of horror element. Sure, ghosts and screaming female leads can be guilty pleasure, but not in this instance. I hated the fact that what the filmmakers and Eugene Domingo achieved in the first film were reduced to a mimic of Asian horror. Good thing Alodia Gosiengfiao is such a beauty, even as a vengeful spirit.
Second, the back story involving the history of the Go Dong Hae family feels terribly forced. Why the urgent trip to Korea? What's with the temple? Do we really care as audience what happens to the characters? A lot of questions were left unanswered, and I should remind myself here I am not watching PROMETHEUS. I could have swallowed if Kimmy and Dora spent the whole two hours annoying each other endlessly about petty issues. But not this.
Third, spoon-feeding flashback narrative is so Star Cinema. Yes, it is readily an adjective.
Fourth, sexual innuendos among students (and especially against a Catholic school backdrop!) display lack of sensitivity in storytelling. How old is Kiray (who plays the younger version of Kimmy and Dora's mom)? Nevertheless, she looks like a child pitted alongside Ryan Bang (who plays the younger Luisito, Kimmy and Dora's dad). Go figure. Someone dial DSWD, or MTRCB.
And what's up with the doctors speaking in insulting incarnation of the English language? Are they supposed to be Koreans?
Not to disappoint you so much, the film also has its fun moments. Eugene Domingo IS Eugene Domingo, no matter how cluttered and misdirected the material is. Aside from the repackaged jokes from the first movie, it's nice to see Eugene as Kimmy in those elaborate outfits yet again, and I must say that one particular scene where she looked like Ana Julaton lusting to punch "something, or someone" is hilarious. In that same scene also, where Dora is eating rice, rice cake, bread, waffle, and one other thing that I forgot, Kimmy utters, "My god, Dora! That's carbs on carbs on carbs on carbs on carbs!" Now there's some Chris Martinez wit.
KIMMY DORA 2 is a good enough film if you're passing the time or just willing to get some laughter. Most of the humor are sight gags, with the witty dialogue at minimum. However, I demand more seeing as how Martinez and company can achieve comic without sacrificing coherence.