Kimmy Dora

10 09 2009

AND I thought nothing can ever put my friendship with Spider-man to the test.  He knows this too for a fact.  And we’d even always shamelessly brandish that nothing will ever get in the way of our friendship.  But then Eugene Domingo came along.  And nobody like the Philippines’ reluctant box office superstar can put a wedge between me and a superhero.

Armed with my sense of security that Spider-man will never leave me alone to be regaled by a Filipino movie – and owing to the fact that we’ve had this sort of tradition of seeing at least one Metro Manila filmfest entry every year – I asked him directly to see “Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme (Kimmy Dora:  Twins in Artfulness).”  His response was a bit enigmatic.  It was just a bedimpled smile, totally void of anything audible or anything that can be deemed intelligible.  I perceived hesitation.  I didn’t ask again.

As the movie was already on its second week – the point wherein if it were produced by Star Cinema the boob tube would have now been bombarded by hour-on-the-hour reminders from the cast that “’Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme…  now on it’s second week na!!!” – I acted on my firm resolve to finally see it.  Besides, it’s been eight months already and I haven’t seen a Tagalog movie yet!  I went to the cinema with a plan, brushing up on my understanding of the peculiarities of Pinoy movies, courtesy of thecorporateteener.

Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme” tells the story of twins Kimmy Go Dong Hae and Dora Go Dong Hae.  It opens with a rooftop action scene with the twins dressed in identical garb.  The presence of a SWAT team and heavy artillery aimed at the two who are being demanded to reveal who the real Kimmy Go Dong Hae is, is an over-the-top overkill that, had not the audience been laughing already, made me think I was watching Sidney Bristow instead.  When the subtitle said something like “Earlier in their lives”…  that’s when the comedy really started.

Kimmy is the ruthless, over-achieving, manipulating, dominatrix diva.  Dora is the simpleton.  While Kimmy has spent most of her life growing their family’s wealth – so “second generation” of typical old rich families (where the first generation creates the wealth, the second grows it, and the third spends it) – Dora has found fulfillment in surrounding herself with stuffed toys, spelling out her first name in enameled trinkets she hangs around her neck, and rescuing a stray injured mutt.

Kimmy commands cowering, fearful obedience the moment she hollers, “I-ready ang Black Expedition…  2009!”  She hops into her car and I couldn’t help but notice that the upholstery is in Louis Vuitton monogram leather.  She makes excuses to turn down a golf invitation from the Jaime Zobel de Ayala.  But asks for the phone to diss at the Manny V. Pangilinan who she is buying out of his controlling share in a company, before propelling the phone through a trajectory that ends with a resounding thud against the SUV’s cushioned floor.  She dresses up in a white top that costs five times the monthly salary of a management trainee she later fires.  The offense?  For wearing an outfit she (the trainee) cannot afford in cold cash.  But just when I thought Kimmy Go Dong Hae couldn’t display excess any more blatant, I notice she is toting a black Hermes Birkin worth enough money to feed a small third world country – for a week.

Dora commands…  oh, didn’t I say she is the simpleton in this story?

Between the twins ensues a one-sided sibling rivalry for the attention and the affection of two men – their father (magnificently played by the Ariel Ureta) and the office nerd (played by that guy who broke the Divine Diva’s girl’s heart).  Kimmy’s loathing towards her simple-minded twin takes literal seething, boiling form when she realizes that the nerd she is after has fallen for her dumbed-down version.  And when their father suffers a stroke – and when he revises and finalizes his last will and testament – all hell breaks loose.  I am ushered into a world that involved a botched kidnapping attempt, a hilarious case of mistaken identity, an immersion in the hinterlands in the countryside, and a Dora-playing-Kimmy-playing-Dora spectacle that leaves me in stiches.

Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme” succeeds as an intellectual comedy, anchored on a crisp, fast-paced, laugh-out-loud-per-sequence storyline and screenplay.  While its foundation is undoubtedly its simple but well-delivered story, its cornerstone is the tour de force performance of Eugene Domingo as both Kimmy and Dora.  She inhabits each character with intelligence and she delivers her lines with perfect diction and the amount of class each requires.  While movies she has supported in the past have shown how much of a scene-stealer she could be, “Kimmy Dora: Kambal sa Kiyeme” cements her rightful place in the very crowded constellation of Filipino stars.  Eugene Domingo’s charm is in the effective way she uses her impeccable comedic timing and her idiosyncratic phrasing to elicit laughter from the audience, which at that time when I watched, was still packing the theaters.  I have always considered her pivotal scene in “You Are The One,” when she accepts her fiance’s proposal, to be priceless.  Kimmy Dora finally shows she has come into her own.

I guess I will have to add Eugene Domingo now as one of the few personalities who do manage to fascinate me.  I did get a glimpse of it last year.

The date was the 4th of May in 2008, at the Rustan’s Department Store in Makati.  I saw her enter the floor where Silver Vault is on, from the mall side entrance.  She was in a tight-fitting orange Lacoste polo shirt.  She looked gorgeous.  I was to be at arm’s length with her later at the cashier.

(She was waiting patiently while the sales associates resolve the issue on their malfunctioning card reader.  I was to pay in cash so they asked if it was okay to Ms. Eugene Domingo if they’d ring up my purchase first.  She said it was okay, and looked the other way.)


eNTeNG                 :  “Hi, Ms. Domingo!”

                               (I couldn’t help it, I had to rub elbows with celebrity!)

Ms. Domingo       :  “Ang pormal naman, iho.  Bakit, nagbukas na ba ang klase?”

                               (You sounded so formal.  Why, have classes opened yet?)

One of her eyebrows was raised and she sounded very much “in character.”  I scurried to the nearest exit with my purchase of a ToyWatch® wristwatch, the exact same model featured on one whole page on American Men’s Vogue.