1 August 2013 | 3xHCCH
Spinning A Trap
Actually "Babagwa" tells a relatively simple story, about how a group of con artists use Facebook to meet potential "prospects". Once the victim's confidence is earned, they proceed to ask for money which they do not have plans to repay.
Greg (Alex Medina) pretends he is a rich model named Bam Bonifacio (played by another actor, Kiko Matos) to snag his victims with his shirtless photos on his FB page and smooth talking on the phone. Marney (Joey Paras) is Greg's ruthless gay trainer and partner-in-crime. They were doing swimmingly well until one day, Greg strikes a friendship with a lonely sexy matron Daisy (Alma Concepcion), and unexpectedly falls in love with her.
Alex Medina, whom I only knew from TV soap "Ina, Kapatid, Anak", plays Greg bravely with no qualms about the character or how the director wants him portrayed. Joey Paras seems to be the same loud gay guy every time I see him, getting typecast in that same portrayal. He does deliver a good punchline when he is being cute or funny. But his drama scenes tend to be too florid. Alma Concepcion returns to the big screen after a long absence. Her delivery of some incredibly cheesy romantic lines drew the loudest applause during the film.
When the movie sticks to the story, it is interesting and engaging. However, I noted that the director included so much extraneous filler scenes seemingly to prolong the running time of what could have been a shorter film. Those raucous nude sex scenes between Greg and his girlfriend Neri, or that sequence where Marney tries to hit on the hunky caretaker of the apartment may have been funny, but they were far too long while being non-essential. They could have been shortened or even deleted without affecting the film too adversely.
I also felt the ending scene was not satisfactory given the excellent build up to that moment. Because of obvious clues in the narrative, the whole audience probably already knew what was going to happen, and was just waiting for the way the director was going show it on screen. It would have been better when edited more tightly so as not to water down the tension.
Based on the spontaneous loud applause after the screening I watched today at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute, I think this film was an audience favorite. However personally, I probably would have liked it better if it were better edited down to the main story, without too much of extra scenes meant for comic effect. The suspense would not have been compromised too much, like it was for me.