Tired of the fantasy-ridden franchise Enteng Kabisote, moviegoers sighed with relief as they found out that the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival would not include any entries from the said franchise. Instead, “Bossing” Vic Sotto and his “dabarkads” from Octoarts Films and M-Zet Productions decided to change the format of their comedy and make it more timely and relevant, resulting to My Little Bossings. Aside from his comedic timing and the rapport he maintains with the masses, Vic Sotto recruited child wonder Ryzza Mae Dizon and the son of the “Queen of All Media” Kris Aquino, Bimby Aquino-Yap. What’s interesting to note is that while Ryzza Mae is exposed in Philippine media as the girl who can host while being adorable, Bimby is the reclusive fox who’s always beside or in front Kris Aquino during interviews and shows, translating to a pairing that will lead to a media frenzy in Philippine showbiz. It’s guaranteed that any movie Vic Sotto is attached to will debut on top, but the question is: will the audiences buy the new formula?
Reaching near-meta heights, My Little Bossings introduces the audiences to Torky (Vic Sotto), a humble bookkeeper whose life goal, for the time being, is to tour around the world. He works for Barbara “Baba” Atienza (Kris Aquino), a businesswoman who’s juggling the family business while satisfying her son Justin, played by Bimby. The real conflict comes when Janet Lim-Napoles wannabe and Barbara’s sister Marga, played wonderfully by Jaclyn Jose, threatens Baba to come out to the media as the perpetrator of the pyramid scam she’s implementing. Baba employs Torky to take care of Justin while the issue simmers down, accepted with hesitation by Torky.
To the most discriminating viewer, Vic Sotto’s Torky feels like one of those mediocre characters Jason Bateman employs in, say, Identity Thief or Horrible Bosses, but the redeeming quality of the film comes in the form of Aiza Seguerra and Ryzza Mae Dizon. Seguerra plays Ice, a musician who comes back to the “Lungga”, an orphanage where Dizon’s Ching resides; the head of the orphanage entrusts Ching to Ice. After the funny introduction of Ching, they meet with Torky and Justin where the showdown begins. The film excels when it explores the chemistry between Justin and Ching, the humorous duo who also serves as the main draw of the film. A running joke exhausted in the film is how prone to bleeding noses the two children were of the language barriers, yet the implications of the joke symbolized an important social issue affecting children now.
Though funny at times, the film is riddled with logic fails and unnecessary elements like the sidekicks (Jose Manalo & Paolo Ballesteros; lovelorn Barbie Forteza & Neil Coleta whose affair was not to be remembered) whose only purpose was to serve as the dummies who are subjected to body harm and antics that would be funny during the 1930s. Worse than the two mentioned flaws, the biggest dud Little Bossings committed was that they had advertisements spread throughout every minute of the film. While reeling from a noodle endorsement, you’ll find Bimby’s character unexpectedly healed from taking cough syrup exclaiming, “I’m okay na!”. Granted, the film made a ton of money in the box office, helping make the latest edition of the MMFF the highest grossing ever, but the promotion furnished in the film is enough to make the audiences complain and grumble in the theaters.
If audiences expect a story worthy of accolades from Cannes and Sundance, they will be disappointed because the story is low-brow and formulaic, but it is not too bad. The story was carried from a slump by Ryzza Mae and Aiza. Audiences expected to see Ryzza Mae as her usual self, but the revelation of the film was Aiza Seguerra whose dramatic chops were tested and proven to be award-worthy. Jaclyn Jose was menacing, yet theatrical (her usual self) as Marga; she must be too enthralled by the film because there were moments when she can’t control her laughter, but she made the film slightly entertaining. Bimby, on the other hand, needs more tweaking because there were moments when he shone bright as his usual self, but there were some awkward run-ins with the script.
The film received flack for being too nonsensical and business-oriented, and with the way they presented the film, it is well-deserved. The film is certainly child-friendly, with many tropes and themes aimed at children’s humor. The ending was too bland for it to be deemed triumphant and soaring, but the chemistry between Ching and Justin was enough to help make Little Bossings bearable for at least two hours. The best part of the film belongs to the chemistry and relationship of Torky and Ice whose story will not be divulged here (you have to see the movie yourself). Maybe it provided a breathing room for audiences tired of bland fantasies, but My Little Bossings, in itself, did not give much air or gravitas to make you want for more.