Cinemalaya Movie Review: Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha

Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha is a badly executed dramedy that movie star Sharon Cuneta can’t save because of sloppy editing, an inane script, and one-dimensional characters.

A lonesome and alcoholic woman attempts to fulfill a local legend about the Family That Doesn’t Weep with the help of her nanny and her nanny’s uncle in the hopes of reuniting her own estranged family.

Cinemalaya is the perfect platform for cinema icons to showcase their acting chops in better movies compared to what’s offered mainstream, which is flooded with popular pairings and dime a dozen rom com plots.

Sharon Cuneta makes an appearance in the 13th Cinemalaya after Judy Ann Santos who proved she is the best actress – if not one of the best – in her generation with Kusina last year.

Unfortunately unlike Juday, the megastar isn’t given a movie that befits her talents.

Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha knows that it has an icon in its roster and makes the most out of her surely expensive talent fee in the worst way.

The movie prefers to mine whatever joke it can find instead of delivering a coherent narrative, a compelling story and relatable characters. The script is distracted by running gags and comedic subplots. And when it finally remembers that it has a talented actress in its cast, her story is injected to make more gags. In one sequence that seemingly pokes at millennials – a girl instantly gets the attention of a network executive after becoming viral in You Tube and gets a career with the possibility of becoming an investigative reporter, a role that Cora aspires for but couldn’t get because of the same boss who hired the You Tube star.

So, we don’t know why her family can’t stay in one place – she simply has restless kids and a philandering husband. She’s good in anything that she puts her mind on – whether its being a reporter or a businesswoman – but for some reason she can’t keep her family together.

What we do know is that the movie has two comic relief – a boy-crazy maid and her devious but likeable uncle – and prefers to makes jokes at their expense.

The cast is game in whatever the script makes them do, but they all have one-dimensional characters.

The result is an episodic and sloppily edited the-madam-and-her-maid sitcom rather than a movie. For example in one scene, Cora tells her story to Bebang in their first drinking session, but the movie simply recycles their gestures in a fast tracked loop with chipmunk voices so we don’t have a clue what they talked about. Likewise, the movie leans on the comedic interactions of Cora with its comic relief characters, while the main narrative remains in the background and never fully explored.

Towards the end, it stages an overlong dramatic scene and Sharon Cuneta does the best she can. Unfortunately its hard to care for her plight because the movie doesn’t given us any compelling reason to. Even when Cora has finally come to accept the things she can’t control, the pay-off isn’t earned enough to celebrate with her.

There is an interesting Filipino story here. How some are pushed to believe urban legends out of desperation. How families don’t always stay together and they don’t have to.

The silly premise also had potential had it not tried too hard to be a crowd pleaser. One can draw a parallel between Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha and Cora’s own broken family.

Unfortunately the movie commits the same problem that cash grab mainstream films do – milk the popularity of its actors and use the lowest common denominator. It’s especially disappointing considering its a Cinemalaya entry.

Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha would appeal to the Sharon Cuneta fans, but even then, those who want to see a compelling role worthy of their idol will find none here.

My Rating: 3/10

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