The end credits of D'Kilabots Pogi Brothers, Weh? share space with little vignettes of the two lead actors thanking the various guest stars of the movie for showing up. Many of these stars end up making the same joke: that they aren’t getting paid. These vignettes sum up the problem with the movie as a whole. For one thing, much of the movie seems to have been designed around these cameo appearance. And secondly, the movie has a tendency to repeat its humor. These problems are compounded by an odd production that can’t seem to decide what the name of one of the characters is.
Brothers Justine and Bruno (Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola) don’t get along very well. The two have been squabbling ever since Bruno won the heart of his now-wife Kitty (Pokwang), leaving a brokenhearted Justine to swear off women altogether. Their mother forces a peace between them, but they continue to compete with each other. The brothers form a truce as Justine finds a new love in Lulu (Solenn Heusaff), a newcomer to the neighborhood, only to be torn apart as a greedy businessman (Michael de Mesa) plots against them in order to drive them out of their home.
The movie isn’t all that concerned with plot. It isn’t even all that concerned with the name of one of the two main characters. The production couldn’t seem to decide whether Jose Manalo’s character is named Justine or Justin, and makes it weirdly ambiguous throughout the movie. The credits refer to him as Justine, but signs in the movie spell his name Justin. It might seem like a strange detail to get hung up on, but this seems like the kind of thing that should have been completely ironed out. And it’s indicative of the larger problems of the film, in that it’s a sign of a haphazard production.
The story feels thrown together, hastily assembled from what appear to be unfinished sketches. There are a lot of potentially funny setups, but there’s a shortage of punchlines. And so a bit about the brothers dueling with songs starts out funny, but goes on far too long, repeating the single joke over and over. In place of actual punchlines, the film offers old movie references, a parade of celebrity cameos, and lots and lots of volume. This is an exceptionally noisy film, its scenes often reaching for laughs by simply amping up the sound.
And the cast is all too ready to get noisy. Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola have never been subtle, their comedic volume the finest weapon in their arsenal. The two aren’t to everyone’s taste, but one has to admire the commitment to their brand of comedy. Gina Pareño, Pokwang, and Paolo Ballesteros bring the noise as well. Oddly enough, in the middle of all this chaos, Solenn Heusaff stands out for somewhat subdued delivery. One must also give credit to Michael de Mesa, who lends his ample experience of being a villain to the movie.
D’Kilabots Pogi Brothers, Weh? doesn’t quite feel like a movie yet. It certainly has the makings of one, but it didn’t seem to move very far past the concept stages. It feels like the filmmakers were confident that the talent would fill in the blanks, generating laughs despite the lazy writing. And that even works to some extent. But it’s not enough. The film meanders through its underdeveloped comedic premises, often killing the joke through repetition. And the story lacks the connective tissue to be coherent. The result is something occasionally amusing, but mostly difficult to watch.