Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme (Joyce Bernal, 2009)
Joyce Bernal's Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme isn't as fabulously inane as Booba (2001), a comedy that Bernal also directed where from start of the movie to its finish, the film relentlessly revolved around oversized mammaries, underperforming penises, and a sibling rivalry that rivaled Cain and Abel's in terms of intensity and extent. Right before Kimmy Dora concludes in a delightfully cheesy song number (where sisters Kimmy and Dora declare their newfound love for each other by singing the corniest ditty and sillily dancing in the middle of the road in matching garments), it grows a heart. There is nothing wrong with the heart it grew. It was right there from the start, neatly hidden underneath the movie's quick wit and efficient humor. It just should have stayed in the background while the movie pushed forward, earning chuckle after chuckle. Thus, when the heart revealed itself, expressing what is already apparent, arguably to the detriment of being one of those rare perfectly carefree screwballs that are easily taken for granted but is actually valuable in this age that has lost all authentic humor to the formula of safe and family-friendly jubilation, I was quickly removed from the hypnotic daze that Kimmy Dora rapidly got me into.
Having relayed that minor complaint, a complaint that stems out of a personal distaste for neat resolutions especially in movies that do not need them, Kimmy Dora is perhaps the most effective comedy in recent memory. Note that I specifically used the word "effective" instead of the more common "best" to express my admiration for the movie, simply because there's a difference between the two adjectives. The former connotes the ability to what it was created for and the latter; thus, an effective comedy goes straight to the point, bombarding its audience with joke after joke, even to the extent of putting logic and reality aside, just to achieve its mission. The latter is more subjective; and calls for something more than just effectivity, depending, of course, on the needs of the subjective mind. To my mind, there are better recently released local comedies like Veronica Velasco's Last Supper No. 3 (2009), Jerrold Tarog and Ruel Dahis Antipuesto's Confessional (2008), Francis Xavier Pasion's Jay (2008), and Ray Gibraltar's When Timawa Meets Delgado (2007), but Kimmy Dora, with all its unabashed nonsense and guilt-free drollery, is simply deliriously hilarious.
The story, written by Chris Martinez (who also penned Jeffrey Jeturian's Bridal Shower (2004) and Bikini Open (2005), two very good satires, and directed from his own screenplay 100 (2008), a take on death with the uncharacteristic humor that it deserves) is a hoot. Kimmy (Eugene Domingo), a domineering top executive who barks at her subordinates, and Dora (also, Domingo), the nincompoop with the heart of gold, are identical twins. Kimmy, who toils for the family business, secretly envies Dora because Dora gets all the love and attention of their father (Ariel Ureta) and white collar hunk Johnson (Dingdong Dantes, who gives a surprisingly enjoyable performance), despite her imbecility. The plot thickens, with Kimmy discovering her father's bequeathing a substantial portion of his estate to Dora while she gets crumbs, and in a deliciously staged precursor to a wild case of mistaken motives and identities, unknowingly gives marching orders to kidnap Dora. The kidnappers kidnap Kimmy instead, forcing Dora, for the sake of their weak father and the hugely successful business, to pretend to be Kimmy while she's gone.
Bernal directs the comedy with a confidence that is reflected from the surefooted way the movie delivers its humor in heaps and bounds. There are questionable additions, like the Stephen Chow-esque use of computer generated effects to needlessly magnify humor (an unfortuate excess, in my honest opinion), but overall, Bernal directed the movie with a modesty that transforms the movie into an uncluttered piece of entertainment, self-aware of its . As with Booba, where Bernal's direction merely complemented her actors comedic timing instead of upstaging them, she knows very well that the movie's success hinges on the dual performance of Domingo, a thespian who has graduated from playing best friends of the lead to play both leads of Kimmy Dora.
Domingo, who proves to be both a formidable actress and a comedienne with exquisite comedic timing, should have been the movie's lone special effect. Out of playing simplistic dual roles of dominatrix and simpleton, she comes up with a performance that exceeds what is required of her. In one hilarious sequence, Domingo, playing Dora, who needs to act like Kimmy, who in her overly simplistic mind is a hotheaded monster, and starts to go back and forth being herself and Kimmy to cover up Kimmy's disappearance to their father, seamlessly handles the task, without confusing the audience and as an added bonus, furthers the built-in comedy of the sequence with her invaluable comic stylings. The sequence proves Domingo's mettle in creating two distinct personalities that notwithstanding an exercise in blurring the two personalities, she resists and manages to remain Kimmy or Dora, or Kimmy pretending to be Dora, or Dora pretending to be Kimmy, and you can't help but feel astounded by the mastery she dedicates to the movie. Simply put, nonsense has never been this satisfying.