Movie review: Kim Molina is distressingly desperate in 'Jowable'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Sep 29 2019 09:40 AM


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Mid-last year, there was a video that spread on social media entitled "Jowable" by filmmaker Darryl Yap. In this 6-minute clip, a young woman entered a church drunk, and started to question God why she had no boyfriend since birth when it seemed clear that she was "jowable" (or "good girlfriend material" in street lingo). This year, Yap himself expanded on that premise and made it into a full-length film.

Ever since she was a little girl, Elsa Mangahas (Kim Molina) already dreamed of having a boyfriend with whom she can share her lunch with. However, even as she became an adult, she never had a boyfriend her whole life and she is very miserable for it. 

Her close friends, Karissa (Cai Cortez), Facundo (Chad Kinis) and Nuna (Jobelyn Manuel, the girl in the original video), her classmates since grade school and now co-workers in an events company, all have their partners in life already. Even her mother Liberty (Kakai Bautista) has a boyfriend, this current one Dmitri (Fabio Ide) is her 16th. 

Everything built up to that moment when a very drunk Elsa argued, challenged and bargained with God in the church (the very scene we had seen before in Yap's initial short film). Will Elsa's empty love life change after her major cathartic session with God?

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Kim Molina is fresh off her raunchy iWant feature "Momol Nights" which also depicted a sort of similar dilemma for her character. This stage actress and singer whom I first knew playing the lead roles in musicals like "Rak of Aegis" and "Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady" is now a full-fledged movie star, and a sex-comedy princess at that. Molina is one of those rare actresses who can pull off those naughty lines in such a cute tongue-in-cheek manner so that it does not come off as totally offensive, even for conservative viewers. 

Kakai Bautista who played Elsa's ex-prostitute mother, who had a revolving door of hunky boyfriends. Bautista played it so cheap and trashy here, but can't not love her despite these traits. That mother-daughter breakdown scene together was fully of tearful dialogue, but it was simply too hilarious not to laugh out loud. 

Another notable scene was that inebriated conversation of Elsa with Sister Katrina during a field trip, which was chockful of sexual double-entendres, shocking coming from a nun. However, with the way Candy Pangilinan played the tactlessly frank nun, the scene turned out delightful and funny despite the inherent wrongness of it all. 

There was a character of the strict Ms. Soledad Manalili (played by Suzette Ranillo) who caught the third-grader Elsa kissing the anatomy model in school nicknamed Tommy. Because of her dedication to her profession, Ms. Manalili never got married and instead just had her cross-stitching and pack of shih-tzus. With this character, the film made a detour of sorts to pay tribute to teachers. It was sentimental yes, but felt off-tangent. 

The original short video by Yap was very popular among the millennial set for its extreme ranting soliloquy about having no boyfriend, in a church of all places. However, it was also criticized for its use of profane language inappropriate for the sacred setting. But it was exactly this shocking disrespectful nature that led to its viral status, which now led to this feature film. 

The film had more such scenes with similar-style writing by Yap throughout its choppy run -- very irreverent and uncouth, yet with sincere insights if you listen closely.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."