There’s this beauty pageant question that goes: Is it better to be beautiful than intelligent?
While being beautiful can only get you so far in life, and being intelligent can take you places, it’s hardly for anyone to really get the best of both worlds. While it’s ideal to be intelligent and pretty at the same time, there are specific episodes that only require you to look good especially in today’s society where everyone is overly cynical, narcissistic, and obsessed with looks.
And that’s where Barbi: D’ Wonder Beki, which stars Paolo Ballesteros, steps in.
The film is obviously written by someone who just wanted the audience to feel good, to always look on the brighter side of things, and to always trust in the love of family. It is not embellished with convoluted subplots. It’s just a simple story that is honest to its intention – that is, to make you laugh.
The strength of the movie lies on its local humor. It creates a powerful rapport with the audience that understands and enjoys local comedy. So don’t bring a foreigner into the movie house and expect him to react and laugh in the same way that you do.
In the movie, Paolo reprises the iconic character played by Joey de Leon in a series of blockbuster movies in the late ‘80s and in the mid-90s. In his version of the film, Paolo is Billy Bayagan, a closeted gay in a family of strict and conservative policemen.
He works as an all-around body to a wealthy businessman. Unfortunately, his boss gets involved in a syndicate, and Billy witnesses his murder. And just like in any telenovela where the witness tries to help the victim but becomes the prime suspect for some reason, Billy is mistakenly blamed for a crime he did not commit.
With the help of a local bar owner (Joey de Leon), Billy takes on the identity of Barbi and begins performing in a drag show. There, he is able to finally embrace his sexuality as he becomes the star performer of the bar.
Not content with being incognito, Billy tries to find ways to resolve the murder case and to finally clear his name. He goes back to his boss’s house and finds a USB that contains all the files that pinpoint the real culprits.
In the end, Billy gets reunited with his family. And to his surprise, he is accepted by her father and siblings with open arms.
The makers of this film managed to create something witty, joyful and charming. At the same time, they managed to avoid overdoing it; the comedy is just enough and Paolo’s comedic timing is always on point.
It is easy to say that Barbi:D’ Wonder Beki is a film tailored fit for Paolo given his flair for creating numerous characters being social media’s transformation king. The support cast just fades in the background when they appear with Paolo’s character in one frame, including the roles played by Miguel Tanfelix and Bianca Umali.
The only downside of the film is that it is so optimistic, it forgot that most of its endeavors wouldn’t really happen in real life. And the conflict it presented is impossible to be resolved by a one-man team.
The film also easily jumped into conclusion that murder can be solved by a simple phone call and someone’s heart can be changed overnight. Nonetheless, if someone’s goal is just to laugh and not think of anything else, the not-so-intelligent Barbi: D’ Wonder Beki can be a beautiful choice.