In Chopsuey, Piolo Pascual plays the Kuya of three troubled sisters who are all supposed to be Chinese. The sisters are portrayed by Dimples Romana, Andrea del Rosario and Krista Ranillo. It’s hard to take this cast seriously because casting Piolo and them as Chinese seems like a joke. But the joke does not end there.
Jimmy (Piolo) plays the wealthy Chinese guy, all sulky because he was left at the altar by some girl who left him for a Filipino. Obviously, that fiancé of his was a very stupid girl. But what could be more stupid than making Piolo Chinese. The film doesn’t seem to require much from the actors so that may be why he chose to speak in monotone throughout the rest of it, only projecting an emotion in the voice-overs, which has its place in a poetry recital. And then there’s Dimples’ character Claire who is also going through Serious Emotional Stress. It’s probably because she is troubled with the burden of being forced to look Chinese. That aside, she was amazing here. And then there’s Andrea del Rosario who is hot and Krista Ranillo who is not.
Troubled Chinese families have been the subject of all those craptacular Mano Po movies; we’ve had enough. Why someone had to make this movie is baffling. Also baffling is the husband of Claire who is such a terrible fuck. Evidence of Romana’s effectiveness is the loathing you develop as the creep husband commands poor Claire. There are scenes of Buddha, incense, doors, stairs, vegetables and some other thing that’s supposed to mean something. And the call center joke (a character pronouncing it as call se-ner) has been heard before. Much as people love that joke, it’s getting corny. There are also the terrific Piolo voice-overs that seem to make up for the film’s lack of solid narrative.
The trouble with some indie films is you don’t know if you’re not getting it because it’s very deep or because you’re stupid or because it really means nothing and it’s nagpapaka-profound. The title is very fitting though. Chopsuey is a mishmash of characters, confrontations and emotions that never get anywhere.