Movie: House Husband

"My House Husband"My House Husband is the latest dramedy movie from the Judy Ann Santos-Ryan Agoncillo tandem that had previously spawned two movies: Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo and Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo. But the domestic drama that made their previous two movies hits seemed to have taken the high road this time. A very high road.

The film revolves around the character of Rod (Ryan Agoncillo) who decided to resign from his bank job because of a buy-out that promotes him into a demotion. What does that mean? Well, he is being promoted into an area manager–in a far-flung province. Without a pay increase. What does that have to do with the story? Well, it’s the reason why he decides to quit–and how he becomes the house husband. Now, the drama of the film has to do with Rod’s pride, his dilemma at becoming a house husband, his wife’s juggling act in balancing her suddenly full-time job and spending time with her family, and the overly-dramatic life of their neighbor Aida who Rod becomes friends with.

A bit much to follow? It’s really not. Watching the movie, it’s very hard to get lost in the narrative. The timeline is simple, and the causes and effect are done in such a way that anyone would understand what’s going on. The film’s problem is the fact that it revolves around resignation and becoming a house husband–things that are very visual, but are not entertaining to watch. I wouldn’t even be surprised if people comment that Rod brought the problem to himself; in this times of economical hardship, resignation is not an option–at least until you’ve already secured a second job.

Now, Rod’s reasoning as to why he resigned, and why he’s being picky with his new job, are both sound. But it’s a very intellectual exercise. At the end of the day, his pride should’ve convinced him to stick with his old job because he wouldn’t want his wife to become the sold breadwinner. For four months. Save for this one instance though, Rod’s pride is pretty much a staple to his every scene.

My House Husband is a Ryan Agoncillo movie. Both Judy Ann Santos and Eugene Domingo’s characters were made to support his character. The thing is, it’s Judy Ann and Eugene who you would want to see more of in the movie. Judy Ann’s understated acting as the frustrated, yet loving, wife is a new facet we haven’t seen from the actress; and Eugene Domingo is Eugene Domingo. Out of her three Metro Manila Film Festival movies, it’s here that she shines the most–but it could also be because her comic timing eclipses Ryan’s rather bland acting.

And that’s where things boil down to, doesn’t it? Ryan is an amazing host on television. But he’s not exactly an actor. So making a film and centering the story around him was a very bad idea. For one thing, the story was limited to intellectual settings, as no one would believe Ryan as a blue-collar employee. And being tethered to that limitation, the movie already alienated most of the movie-going masses. Now, had the film been made to center on Judy Ann and Eugene’s strained relationship, while maintaining the premise of Ryan being a house husband? That could’ve been comic gold.