JESSICA ZAFRA | Metro Manila Film Festival 2012 Moviethon: Day 8: Sosy Problems - Refund! Refund!
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GMA Films’ Sosy Problems looks like it was thrown together out of available footage during a brownout. After the editors cobbled it together they realized they had no ending, so they got minor character to narrate an epilogue while they replayed scenes in black-and-white. I wonder what stopped them from splicing in the many commercials featuring the lead actresses—that would’ve used up an extra half-hour.
Oh right, because they had really obvious product placements. When Benjo (Aljur Abrenica) answers his phone, he has to mention his service provider, and when Margaux (Solenn Heussaff) goes to the dermatologist, Dr. Vicky Belo herself appears to offer romantic advice and pitch her anti-aging products.
Ruffa Gutierrez’s TV executive appears at the start of the movie to set the story in motion by defining the different social classes in Metro Manila, ending with the “super-duper rich” whose “problems” we are about to witness. She assigns reporter Tim Yap (who is presumably playing Tim Yap) to document the lives of four rich girls: Lizzie (Rhian Ramos), spoiled daughter of an industrialist; Danielle (Bianca King), a congressman’s daughter; and Margaux and Claudia (Heart Evangelista), daughters of dueling ex-beauty queens.
Presumably we’re going to see the girls from the reporter’s POV—but Yap flits in and out of the movie, and Gutierrez disappears in the middle, never to be seen again. Best friends Margaux and Claudia fight over Benjo, the Polo Club’s valet-stable boy-waiter-lifeguard (Wouldn’t it be a hoot if he turned out to be quadruplets?), but they have a few scenes with Benjo and we never actually see them fighting.
There’s an attempt at social commentary—Danielle’s congressman father (Ricky Davao) is being investigated for corruption; a social-climbing witch (Mylene Dizon is hysterical) plans to demolish the Polo Club and build a yaya mall; and Lizzie is marooned in the province where she learns how the 99 percent who don’t have helicopters live—but these ideas are tossed in the air and hastily resolved. Some of the resolutions are just bizarre: the video evidence that exposes the kontrabida’s plot is not conclusive (or admissible in court), and when Danielle’s new friend Santi (Mikael Daez) says he can help her father, does he mean he can influence a corruption trial?
According to reports, the director tried to have his name taken off the credits because he was not allowed to finish the movie. That would explain why Sosy Problems is a mass of continuity problems. Wait, if this movie is incomplete, why are we paying full price?
Even in its sketchy state the movie has some good ideas. Lizzie looks at her iPhone and says, “Siri, what’s the weather today?” and Matutina answers because she’s Yaya Siri. Some audience members were beside themselves when the sosy girls drank tea out of an arinola (chamber pot) because they didn’t know what it was, and smeared dung on their faces thinking it was Dead Sea mud. The actresses in the mother roles—Agot Isidro and Cherie Gil as dueling ex-beauty queens, Maritoni Fernandez as the congressman’s wife—are hilarious.
Sosy Problems achieves something quite rare in Pinoy movies: It gets the characters right. The leads look, dress, sound, and behave like silly rich girls. The actual sosy girls in the audience laughed out loud because they recognized their own habits—it’s an anthropological study. This designer bag might be real—but all we get are the handles.