Directed by Chris Martinez

Comedy

A light-hearted entertaining comedy about body-swapping and plenty of laughter is delivered by Chris Martinez in the Filipino ‘Here Comes the Bride’. With a storyline very similar to Hollywood’s ‘Freaky Friday’, ‘The Hot Chick’ or ‘It’s a Girl/Boy Thing’, Chris Martinez‘s comedy takes a step further into the comical idea and twists the fates of five different people into a mixture of age and gender confusion that is entertaining in a refreshingly new way.

All it takes is a solar eclipse and a five-car collision onto Magnetic Hill for the bride, her godmother, her ringbearer’s nanny, her husband-to-be’s grandfather and her trans-gendered beautician to exchange bodies, changing their lives in impossible ways.

For the bride-to-be (Angelica Panganiban), who is on her way to her dream wedding, this just might be the worst day of her life, being transferred to her godmother’s body and kept in a strait jacket for claiming she is the beautiful Stefanie.

But the deal may turn not so bad for anyone else involved and soon the wedding day turns into a hilarious riot, where one gets a second chance at love, another at youth, another finally gets economic alleviation and the trans-gendered beautician hits the jackpot in the body of the young virginal bride.

Chris Martinez offers a film that is deliciously hilarious and does not try to be pedantic or moralistic, despite touching upon ideology and the bigger things in life. ‘Here Comes the Bride’ is top-notch entertainment filled with deliriously funny nonsense that is not ruined by commercial accessibility.

Underneath the comedy and laughter lays the clear message of the film that life, as it is, is unfair. There are those who are poor, those who are loveless, those who are old, those who are trapped in the wrong body and, sometimes, the ones who are lucky and have spent a lifetime of being sheltered and protected.

Of course, the latter is the most unfortunate of all when places are swapped, as it is the ones who have everything who only have what to lose.

As the comedy never stops and the film never preaches, Chris Martinez is also able to implement a subtle reflection of a fundamental truth in the statement of gay angst and sentiment in the beautician’s behaviour.

As he is considered the only person who is overly selfish and refuses to give up the beautiful woman’s body, the phrase ‘you will never understand because you are not gay’ expresses a deeper ideology and portrays an overly oppressed individual which suddenly turns the character into a sympathised victim of life.

Hands down to Angelica Panganiban for her transformation from the innocent virginal and shy bride to the man-hungry ultra-extrovert gay trapped in a young sexy female body, which is simply flawless and extremely hilarious.

Eugene Domingo, one of the Philippines’s most successful actresses, is incredible in her rendition of the scared and lost bride-to-be, after having been in the body of the angry and confrontational litigation lawyer minutes before.

Chris Martinez‘s work is attractive without being too glossy. He delivers a realistic story of life and its funny twists through an unrealistic light-hearted funny escapist fantasy.

Complemented by the beautiful beach-side setting and handicapped by the variety of languages from Filipino and Tagalog through English and Spanish and with some dialogue in the dialects of Bisaya and Ilonggo, the film is exquisite entertainment from beginning to end and there is limitless hilarity in the confusing mixture of characters and body-swaps, which tells the tale of the frailty of the human soul in the face of happiness and is ultimately a breath of fresh air in a cliche-ridden genre.

Review by Antoniya PetkovaHere Comes the Bride