Eugene Domingo (in both photos) made very effective character shifts in her launching film Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme. This comedy, which tells the story of an uptight executive named Kimmy (left) and her sweet twin sister Dora, will open in cinemas starting September 2. Photo: Courtesy of Spring Films

 

Comedienne Eugene Domingo has her own brand of humor. She can be hilarious without going slapstick and without the benefit of a funny face. She's that rare comedy star who's able to elicit laughter simply by changing her voice inflection or by easily shifting her facial expression.


Bb. Joyce Bernal's Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme is meant to be Eugene's launching as a comedy star. With the help of big stars in supporting roles and a slew of talents doing cameo roles, the movie is expected to be her big break, perhaps the way Tanging Ina did for Ai-Ai de las Alas.

 

Uge is talented, no doubt. Her academic training in theater at the University of the Philippines gave her that characteristic wit and funny sarcasm at times. Her star shines faintly but steadily. Regine Velasquez, Rufa Mae Quinto, Marvin Agustin, Vhong Navarro, Aiza Seguerra, Piolo Pascual, Christian Bautista, Erik Santos, Mark Bautista, and Sam Milby (among others) are there to lure people to the box office. 

 

Kimmy Dora is simple story of sibling rivalry gone awry. Uge plays the roles of twin sisters Kimmy Go Dong Hae, the hardworking dragon lady CEO of Go Dong Hei Group of Companies; and Dora, the sweet sibling who, despite being dimwitted, has captured the affections of their father, Don Luisito Go Dong Hae (Ariel Ureta) and snagged the love of Johnson (Dingdong Dantes), the hunky company executive who has been rejecting Kimmy's amorous attentions.


One day, Don Luisito suffers a heart attack. Fearing that he might not survive, he draws up a will leaving most of the family's estate to Dora who he feels cannot make it on her own, unlike Kimmy. Saddened by her father's decision, Kimmy consults Harrison (Baron Geisler), the sneaky company lawyer, who tries to convince her she's not getting her fair share of the family wealth. A badly timed phone call to Harris causes a series of twisted, hilarious events.


The first half of the movie drags on like an overly illustrated children's book. But hold on, it gets better halfway.


On the whole, Uge is that funny factor in the movie. The situations are hilarious only because Uge executes them well. She made very effective character shifts, making sure that even in scenes where Kimmy is pretending to be Dora, and vice versa, she does not lose the identity of her dysfunctional characters.


The other characters are interesting, too. There's Kimmy's overworked and unappreciated assistant cum punching bag Gertrude (Miriam Quiambao) who cries at the slightest show of kindness, and Barry (Zanjoe Marudo), the muscular farmer who is able to tame the domineering nature of Kimmy.


Kimmy Dora
may be star-studded but it takes more to make it a really good movie. It offers entertainment, plain and simple. As the head of a company, Kimmy power-dresses and does power trips. She scares the employees a la Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in The Devil Wears Prada and fires an employee for wearing the same dress as hers. In board meetings, they talk in sweeping generalities to get investors from every corner of the planet, as if there were no ongoing financial crisis in the real world.


But then, the whole point of the movie is to show off Eugene in the role we've never seen her before. And for the sake of a good laugh, it works.


I understand the need for shallow plots, imaginary worlds, and slapstick humor but I also feel that even fanciful comedies should at least try to move within the limits of the real world. Just because it is make believe does not mean it is full-on fantasy.


That's why I do not understand why a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit—an elite tactical unit in the police force specializing in high risk operations such as high tension hostage crises, counter terrorism missions, and serving high risk arrest warrants—were dispatched to settle a unarmed cat fight between disgruntled sisters, even if they happen to be daughters of a business tycoon. In that roof top scene, a team of snipers, complete with high-precision rifles, surround Kimmy and Dora in an open-fire position, which is weird because snipers normally hide to bring down their highly dangerous targets efficiently.


The story behind Dora's mental retardation was hilariously executed; I actually snorted while laughing. But when you really think about it, you ask yourself if it is even medically possible for twins to be born days apart.


So it goes down to the fact that you will watch Kimmy Dora to laugh and not really to pick up anything new. So laugh, cry, and do not think so much. Just enjoy it. Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme, produced by Spring Films, hits theaters on September 2. It is rated PG-13 by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.



 

Trailer courtesy of Spring Films