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!]

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