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Praybeyt Benjamin: Movie Review

"Praybeyt Benjamin" is the weakest Vice Ganda film we have seen yet. Its either his comedic style of "stating the obvious" (pamimilosopo in Tagalog) is getting pretty old and redundant already or that the film itself lacks any sense of originality in its story or comedic styles used - maybe even both. We can sense a hint of "Mulan" in it, some "Police Academy" and old local 90s action movie elements and while those did bring some nostalgia, it further emphasizes the mediocrity of the film. The bottomline is simple - "Praybeyt Benjamin" may make you laugh at times but there are also numerous times that it will fail to eke out any interest from the audience and that's pretty bad for a comedy film to begin with.

The Benjamin Santos family has always fielded a male person on key historic battles. Benjamin "Ben" Santos VII (Jimmy Santos) is the first son to decide to forego his military background and live his dream as a scientist and inventor. Ben is disowned by his father, a high-ranking general (Eddie Garcia) in the Philippine Army. Fast forward a few years, Ben's son, Benjamin "Benjie" Santos VIII (Vice Ganda) turns out to be gay and further off from their storied family heritage. But when a terrorist group kidnaps key military personnel (including Benjie's grandfather) and putting the whole country hostage, the Philippine Army requires all families to enlist one male for immediate military training. Benjie decides that even though he is gay, he needs to enlist to keep his ailing father from joining.

Creativity is the last thing you will get from watching "Praybeyt Benjamin". The story was typical and definitely predictable. While the cast did a pretty good job on the acting side, the characters they portray are uninteresting at best. Some are overtly stereotypical while some lack any appeal (the worst of them is probably Kean Cipriano's character of Emerson Ecleo). You can only do so much as actors with badly conceptualized characters. Another thing are the various comedic segments littered across the movie. Most of the segments are either old-fare (meaning they have been used countless times before) or just completely lacks any sense. Even the "breaking the fourth wall" segments failed stupendously. As you can see, there is little or no reason to watch "Praybeyt Benjamin". At first glance, it may seem to be an interesting movie but it really isn't - it's comedy alone fails on so many levels. Add on top of that a mediocre story and characters and you get a pretty sad film.

Rating: 1 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- there's no significant reason to watch "Praybeyt Benjamin"

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- a typical story and mediocre characters make the film uninteresting at best
- Vice Ganda's comedic style fails to make us laugh this time around

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