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MOVIE REVIEW
Revirginized (2021)

In “Revirginized,” Filipina superstar Sharon Cuneta stars as Carmela, and the film’s opening scene finds her arriving at the courthouse in a daze, seemingly dreading what is about to take place: her divorce proceedings. Just when you think her day has hit rock bottom though, her parked car gets booted.

She is approached by some minors to score some booze for them, and inadvertently catches her goddaughter Cheska (Abby Bautista) plotting a birthday getaway behind her mother’s back. Carmela threatens to bust Cheska and scuttle the plan unless she can tag along – perhaps thinking that they need a chaperone. Carmela got pregnant at 16, which led to her doomed 36-year marriage. She would obviously hate for Cheska to repeat her mistake. But Carmela apparently has an ulterior motive, which is to sow some wild oats and make up for time she lost as a teen after starting a family so early.

Their van arrives at an elaborate beach party where drinks are mixed in a bucket and partygoers binge directly from the tab as if it’s rush week on a college campus. Carmela, with wheeled luggage in tow, seems totally out of place. Cheska’s pal Beverly (Jobelyn Manuel) lambasts Carmela for minding everyone else’s business when she’s got issues of her own. Writer-director Darryl Yap Yap supplies protracted slo-mo party montages punctuated by a nondescript thumpa-thumpa soundtrack like some Justin Bieber music video directed by Jon M. Chu – which, given the film’s meager 96-minute runtime, feels like filler in a threadbare story.

“Revirginized” reveals itself to be a poorly conceived and clumsily executed celebration of womanhood, Girl Power, feminism etc. It may have been a good idea, but fleshing it all out is clearly beyond Mr. Yap’s depth. There’s scant development or even catharsis for Carmela, even though a big deal has been made about Ms. Cuneta playing against type. Mr. Yap doesn’t give us anything concrete or substantive beyond a nice fantasy. In the end, Carmela’s self-worth still hinges on validations from men, such as the much younger tattoo artist Morph (Marco Gumabao) who showers her with attention. Cheska and her girls finally come around to recognizing Carmela’s innate cool only when she makes them breakfast the next morning as they nurse their hangovers.

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