Anybody who has a cellphone in the Philippines has probably received that annoying text one time or another. I’m sure you know how it goes: an unnamed relative who’s supposedly working abroad wants to send you some money or a balikbayan box but in order for them to do so you have to send them “cellphone load” first. You’ll probably think that only the dumbest of the dumb will fall for this kind of scam. But what if, out of sheer coincidence, a well-to-do family is led to believe that the texter is actually a long lost relative? This is the premise of Ang Pagong Pamilya ni Ponching, a full-length film entry for this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival.
Directed by Inna Salazar and Dos Ocampo, Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching is a comedy slash family drama that stars Janus Del Prado as Ponching and Ketchup Eusebio as his childhood friend Elmerson. Ponching and Elmerson are religious guys who dabble in relatively petty crimes such as movie piracy. Their latest gig? Camcording indie films to sell to patrons in Quiapo. Which is either a genius move since nobody really does that or the dumbest thing ever since as Ponching himself said, “Sino bang manunuod ng ganyan sa Quiapo?”
Looking for a new racket to try out, these two friends get into a new venture: text scamming. Thinking that no harm will come out of it, Ponching sends out a text that accidentally cons a recipient into thinking that he’s the bastard son of a recently deceased relative. The inheritance? 2 million pesos. But now he has to play the part. Did Ponching, a kind-hearted dimwit bite off more than he can chew this time?
Ponching’s new family, the Dela Veras are apprehensive when he first arrives in their mansion and for good reason. Here’s a guy who you never knew before today and he’s supposed to be the sole beneficiary of an inheritance? But eventually, the family falls in love with the well-meaning Ponching. One of the highlights of the movie is actually the friendship that Ponching develops with the matriarch of the family and this subplot is what I liked the most about it.
Janus Del Prado and Ketchup Eusebio are funny as Ponching and Elmerson and the movie has its laugh out loud moments. Although some of the jokes fall flat at times which is usually the case for any comedy. But humor is different from person to person so while I didn’t find some of the jokes to be funny, I’m sure there are others who will. But Janus Del Prado as the dimwitted Ponching was able to deliver a good performance. It’s easy for us to hate him since he’s cheating the Dela Veras out of their money but we end up liking him anyway because he’s a well-intentioned buffoon.
6.5/10 A quirky Filipino comedy that at times borders on the absurd, Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching offers a premise that everyone can relate to.