Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha begins with an animated intro that tells the story of the titular family that does not weep. Legend has it that if you have them over as guests in your house, they will bring you your heart’s desire. For Cora (Sharon Cuneta), that would be to have her family come back to her. She now spends most of her days alone in her house, getting drunk on cheap liquor. Her new helper, Bebang (Moi Marcampo) offers to help her find the legendary family, and enlists the aid of her uncle Biboy (Niño Muhlach) to do it.There isn’t much to the actual search, which largely takes place off screen. There are a couple of sequences where we watch Biboy aimlessly walking in streets, asking everyone in proximity if they’ve heard of or seen the people that he’s looking for. The scenes are comedic in theory, but the only real joke in this sequence is the visual of Niño Muhlach charging through these streets in increasingly absurd clothing, bothering regular people with wild, weirdly aggressive questioning.The aimlessness of those scenes is a symptom of a greater problem. The movie is wildly unfocused, and at times overly sloppy. At times, it feels like the script was assembled hastily, bits and pieces of different concepts stuck together into a single ungainly structure. Its scenes play out like unconnected vignettes, separate sketches that just happen to feature many of the same characters. For the most part, its most sustained source of comedy are the strained interactions between Bebang and Cora. They are infuriating to each other, Cora’s inherent meanness and Bebang’s dense behavior a reliable fount of comedic tension.But it wears thin. There just comes a point where the story needs to move on, where we need to see Cora really dealing with the problems in her life. The film builds to a big dramatic payoff, but it lands with a thud. It spent too much time on its sitcom humor for those big emotions to land. It took too much pleasure in making fun of Bebang to make her part in the dramatic resolution feel earned. The film in general doesn’t show enough sympathy for its characters. It makes it hard to connect with any of the emotional content, the film making them out to be too ridiculous and venal by the end.This is in spite of a pretty strong effort from the film’s main star, Sharon Cuneta. Perhaps the cleverest thing about the film is how it basically embraces the outside context that the Megastar brings with her. It builds a character on her image, finding odd humor in spite of circumstances that one might consider tragic. Cuneta’s comedic timing is impeccable, and she is still able to unleash plenty of affecting emotion. And she plays well with Moi Marcampo, who delivers a generous, un-self-conscious performance. But the script just doesn’t build enough around them to make it really matter.There are certainly funny moments in Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha, but as a whole it feels disappointing. It just feels sloppily constructed, its scenes giving off the impression that the whole thing was just haphazardly slapped together. It lacks connective tissue, the film settling for a disconnected series of comedic sketches that don’t really add up to a whole lot. It can be entertaining in the moment to see Sharon Cuneta strutting her comedic stuff, but the film seems to be promising more than it actually delivers.
ANG PAMLYANG DI LUMULUHA IS NOW SHOWING IN SELECT CINEMAS NATIONWIDE