‘The Barker’ review: Bad to the core

THE BARKER. Empoy Marquez and Shy Carlos star in 'The Barker,' directed by Dennis Padilla. Screengrab from YouTube/Viva Ent

THE BARKER. Empoy Marquez and Shy Carlos star in 'The Barker,' directed by Dennis Padilla.

Screengrab from YouTube/Viva Ent

It has only been a couple of months since Sigrid Bernardo’s Kita Kita became the highest grossing independently produced film of all time.

Devoid of art and inspiration

Within those couple of months, Viva Films, the lucky distributor of Bernardo’s surprise hit, has managed to churn out a flick whose only aim is to capitalize on the sudden popularity of Kita Kita’s peculiar leading man, Empoy Marquez. Predictably, The Barker (Don’t Know What To Do), written and directed by comedian Dennis Padilla, is indisputably awful, bearing all the symptoms of a work devoid of any real artistry or inspiration.

It’s a chameleon of a film, with Padilla seemingly unable to decide whether he wants to pursue action, comedy, drama or romance.

Definitely, it isn’t hybrid because the film seems unable to weave any of the elements together. The scenes are disparate. They’re almost like skits that are carelessly woven together to pull off what essentially is a sorry excuse for a movie meant for public consumption.

Screengrab from YouTube/Viva Ent


When it insists on action, it’s a rickety one that is devoid of any kinetic thrills. When it pursues comedy, it stubbornly relies either on Marquez’s tired shtick or chauvinistic jokes, ending up too old, outdated and offensive to be funny. When it attempts drama, it exposes a wooden and unsavory heart. When it pushes for romance, it is forced and empty of any real sentiment, especially since Marquez’s love interest is characterized as nothing more than a fantasy, a pretty face pitted against Marquez’s plain looks.



Dangerous juvenilia

Screengrab from YouTube/Viva Ent

The juvenilia is just dangerous.

Whenever the film reveals its glaring immaturity all for the purpose of erstwhile giggles, it reinforces social ills as nothing more than jokes to laugh at. There are no lessons here, just lousy jokes grounded on meanness. The Barker is only successful at promoting either deathly frustration or blatant boredom.

The most painful thing about the film is that it feigns innocence by shrouding itself with claims of just being popular entertainment. However, its very idea of popular entertainment is wrong. It is hurtful, not just because it is undeniably a bad film but because its values are all wrong and twisted.


Final advice

Screengrab from YouTube/Viva Ent

Heed my words. Avoid this film like the plague. – Rappler.com


Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.