Vice Ganda is Goldie Hawn is Praybeyt Benjamin

“Praybeyt Benjamin,” a movie about an effeminate outsider joining the Army was released in Philippine theaters this week to rave ( I think) reviews.

Most of the praise deservedly went to Goldie Hawn, whom the New York Times called  “totally charming as the bemused suburban princess who forsakes a house with a live-in maid, her membership in the country club…to find life’s meaning in the service.”

Private Benjamin (1980)

Wait, what? Praybeyt Benjamin stars comedian Vice Ganda and it’s about a gay man who enters the Army “when the country is besieged by terrorists and goes under a civil war“? It’s a totally different film then.

Praybeyt Benjamin (2011)*

Now, I’m not saying Star Cinema or Viva Films stole the idea for “Praybeyt Benjamin.” Clearly, these are two different films made more than 20 years apart and the country does not go “under civil war” in the original movie. But the movies have the same basic premise, and basically the same title.

Which, really, boggles the mind. Most of the people who have watched and  will watch Praybeyt Benjamin (reviewers included) will not have heard of the original movie, so there is no name recall to boost sales.

There is also none of the cleverish punning in local films that copy foreign films. (Consider, for example Dolphy’s Tataynic to ride on the popularity of Titanic, and Wanted: Perfect Mother as a spoof of  Wanted: Perfect Murder by way of Mrs. Doubtfire.)

Star Cinema/Viva Films could have called it anything else and it still would have sold tickets, brought laughs, and gotten rave reviews.

Is it director Wenn Deramas’s homage to the original Goldie Hawn film? If so, was this mentioned at all in press conferences and publicity tours for Praybeyt Benjamin? A quick Google search suggests it was not and it certainly was not mentioned by reviewers.

Surely, there is a reasonable and logical explanation for this but I’m sticking with laziness until proven otherwise.

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*“Goldie Hawn is Private Benjamin” was the last line of the trailer for the 1980 movie.

[EDIT: This website is not the first to find similarities between the Goldie Hawn film and this one, and this is probably old news to a lot of people. But not to you, Indolent reader!]

7 Comments

  1. Pardon my French but f*ck this sh*t. Seriously. A lot of these local producers have been mourning the death of mainstream Philippine Cinema especially during the double aughts but they are forgetting that the reason that happened was because a significant percentage of local movies were copies of western films thinking that the public could be milked for all they were worth by giving them ripoffs. All too often anything from them nowadays (especially the so-called romantic comedies) make cash only because of the star power.

    This was why indie cinema prospered. The original plot, characters, and settings were the only things we could use to compete with foreign movies.

    • It’s okay to say “fuck this shit,” you know. If we are going to curse, let’s commit to it. 🙂

      Well, to be fair, Praybeyt Benjamin seems like an original film save the premise and title.

      I just find it weird that they didn’t bother to change the title and then not mention the Goldie Hawn film.

      “Private Benjamin” doesn’t mean anything to us anymore so they could have gone with any title and still make the P79 million the movie has earned so far.

      Also to be fair, 2011 seems to have been a good year for Philippine movies so far. (Although Jessica Zafra does not agree.)

  2. Jessica Zafra lives in a Philippines that is in another historical continuity than the one we are in. There, rugby has become a rising sport. Steve Jobs was a saint rather than the tyrant and asshole he really was. Tennis is enjoyed by many Filipinos and everyone else has enough time for leisure reading.

  3. “Praybeyt Benjamin re-make”

    Vice Ganda is totally an amazing comedian actress/actor. He/she made people laugh through his/her unkabogable jokes. I really do idolize her/him.

  4. If I may correct you on one note, Dolphy’s spoof was “Wanted: Perfect Father”, since Regine Velasquez was the one who starred in a movie called “Wanted: Perfect Mother.”

    How I know this, I will never understand.

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