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Monday, December 22, 2008

Desperadas 2, a better version

KUDOS to writer Roy Iglesias and Director Joel Lamangan as they succeed in making "Desperadas 2" better and truly funnier than the first one. To begin with, the characters are more involving in the sequel that starts with a well-edited prologue giving brief flashbacks of what happened to the four half sisters (Ruffa Gutierrez, Rufa Mae Quinto, Iza Calzado and Marian Rivera) in the original.

Now, Ruffa as Isabelle is no longer much of a spoiled brat, in better terms with her sisters, and is now living with her boyfriend, Jay R. Rufa Mae as Patricia, the sexologist, has separated for good from her gay husband, Wendell Ramos, who now wants to have a sex change operation. She also finds new romance in a super rich congressman, Christian Vasquez.

The previously childlike Iza as Stephanie is now finally a mother but suffers from an acute case of post partum blues that makes her suspect that her doctor husband, TJ Trinidad, is having an affair with his nurse, Nina Jose. Marian as Courtney is now married to her boyfriend, Will Devaughn, but she becomes even busier as a designer that she neglects her wifely duties, prompting Will to leave her alone so she can have more space for herself.

The problems of each of the sisters are compounded by the arrival of a new half sister, Lugaluda Lugalu (Ogie Alcasid in a female role), daughter of their mom (Nova Villa) with the king of a small island called Kuelani. The sisters first treat Lugaluda with condescencion but she does each of them a good turn that makes them eventually embrace her wholeheartedly as a real sister.

Ogie as a woman has the most colorful role here in the sequel. She arrives during a private gathering fully garbed in their nation's costume and doing a ribtickling ethnic dance. It's a hilarious scene-stealing role indeed for Ogie and he does it quite effortlessly, going into town with an all stops are pulled kind of performance.

In fairness to his four sisters, they each have their own highlights. Ruffa has really evolved to be a fine comedian and her scenes with her precociously perceptive daughter, played to the hilt by Sophia Baars, are all funny. Rufa Mae makes the most of her breakdown scene when she discovers that her lover is a jueteng protector who's using her in his illegal activities.

Iza is laugh out loud hilarious in the scene where she suspects TJ and Nina are making love but discovers that it's only her randy yaya who's having a tryst with her "bagets" boylet. She later confronts TJ and Nina on the stairway showing them she's been training as a martial arts fighter. Marian, in turn, has an action scene with her stalker (Alex Cortez) who tries to kidnap her. Among the guys, it's Wendell Ramos who shines as Rufa Mae's gay husband who cross-dresses in the final scene and finds a new boyfriend in Starstruck discovery Paolo Avelino. It's not only the actresses who serve as eye candy but also Jay-R and Will Devaughn who have their own disrobing scenes, particularly when they go to Wendell's spa to take a dip in the jacuzzi au naturel without knowing he's gay.

Director Lamangan deserves a pat on the back for guiding all his actors well and for his well chosen locations. Definitely, "Desperadas 2" is an improvement over the first one.

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