Dobol Trobol is supposedly a movie that took ten years to make it to the screen. If it is, the extra time doesn’t show. The film is inexplicably bad, failing on even the most basic of levels. While seeing both Dolphy and Vic Sotto on the same screen might excite some people, the film just doesn’t have anything to offer to the discerning moviegoer.
Mac works as a chef (and security) at a resort run by his best friend. He’s run away from his wife, who wants him to run their family businesses. One day, his best friend hires an assistant for him, Arthur. The two immediately find themselves at odds, and spend most of their time trying to sabotage the other. Things get even more complicated when Arthur falls in love with Mac’s daughter. Mac’s daughter, Bonnie, has only one wish: for her parents to get back together. Arthur decides to help Bonnie get her wish, but Mac is far more stubborn than he ever expected.
The script doesn’t really seem concerned with crafting a workable narrative. The story mainly falls to the wayside as the film delivers a series of slapstick-y comedy scenes. It all feels a bit old, with nothing really new to offer besides the novelty of the Dolphy-Vic Sotto pairing. The two have genuine comedic talent, but even they can’t elevate this material. Horrible puns, toilet humor, people getting hit in the genitals, and slapstick all have a pretty short shelf life. Maybe they could’ve gotten away with this twenty or so years ago. Today, however, a little attempt at sophistication would be appreciated. The film also uses a bunch of silly inside jokes that take up too much time and add nothing to the story. The film has a pretty long run time, and those inside jokes should’ve been cut.
The filmmaking is pretty baffling. You don’t want to fault a film too hard for its technical limitations, but is it really too much to ask for consistent color grading from shot to shot? Strangely, the film employs a lot of unnecessary visual effects. Money was spent on using some pretty shoddy computer generated imagery. It felt like CGI for the sake of CGI, and it actually detracted from the film. Why couldn’t that money have been spent on more basic things? Like color grading? Or more film stock for better angle coverage? This film has its priorities backwards technically, and it hurts the overall picture.
Dolphy and Vic Sotto are genuinely funny people. They have great delivery, great timing, and facial expressions that can get a laugh every time. But the material just isn’t there. While the two have a nice rapport and are undoubtedly trying their hardest, the combination of dated material and subpar filmmaking just hampers their performances. The supporting cast has some pretty talented people in it, too, but they suffer from the same problem. And then there’s Riza Santos, who can barely speak Tagalog. Her struggle with the language certainly doesn’t help things.
Dobol Trobol has a ton of problems, but really, it’s enough to point out the inconsistent color grading. That stuff’s just basic, and films with far smaller budgets and fewer resources are at least able to keep the colors consistent from shot to shot. It’s indicative of a general laziness in the creation of this film. From script to screen, it just doesn’t feel like a proper amount of work was put into it. Dolphy and Vic Sotto deserve better than this.