There isn’t really a whole lot left to say about Wenn Deramas and his oeuvre. Whatever criticism one might have for any of his films applies to all his films. Hating Kapatid is no exception, the film featuring the same clumsy filmmaking, blatant product placement, and lazy humor that has come to define his body of work for the last five or so years.
When they were young, sisters Rica and Cecilia (Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo) were left to fend for themselves as their parents went abroad to work. Rica was left to take care of her little sister, and grew up to be overprotective, paranoid, and more than a little abrasive to anyone she suspects has intentions on her sister. When their parents suddenly return, Rica’s ill feelings for them put a strain on her relationship with her sister. Things only get worse when Cecilia begins entertaining the advances of a young man.
I don’t really want to beat on a dead horse, but there just isn’t anything new to say about this movie. As usual, not a lot of attention is given to the story, the plot moving along in leaps as the film ricochets from one stilted gag scene to another. If the film was simply absurd, this could have been okay, but it also expects the audience to feel something for the characters. The third act is a showcase for unearned drama, Judy Ann tapped to show off her trademark tears, even though nothing in the plot justifies their shedding.
Deramas just isn’t trying anymore. The film looks absolutely awful, much of it either out of focus or lacking color correction. But the worst offense of this film is the product placement. Deramas doesn’t really do product placement; he practically makes full commercials and builds a movie around them. Here is a list of brands that the film tries to sell you through association with its two popular stars:
Jollibee Chicken Barbecue
Belo Essentials Facial Wash
Charmee Feminine Products
Cebuana Lhullier Pawnshop
Selecta Fortified Milk
Magnolia Fruit Drink
And many others. Deramas doesn’t just let these brands linger in the background. He places the focus on them, and lets his stars sing their praises. It is terribly clumsy, and it isn’t anything we should be seeing in cinemas. The actors are mostly okay. Judy Ann Santos and Sarah Geronimo are stars for a reason. Luis Manzano gets to be goofy and does a fine job of it. But the scenes are directed so poorly and so lazily that their performances seem markedly unprofessional. Where the film should have gotten another take, the camera simply rolls, capturing flubbed lines and awkwardly timed dialogue.
It would be wrong to call Deramas unskilled. He has a great talent for turning the stupid into the sublime, in his earlier years exhibiting a great affinity for the absurd. But his success appears to have made him lazy. Hating Kapatid suffers from this laziness, the lack of effort visible in every frame, with every sloppy edit, mismatched frame, and flubbed line. All the effort has gone into presenting brands to the audiences, product placement becoming more important than the film itself. You might as well just stay home and watch commercials.