With films like Die Beautiful, Bakit Lahat ng Gwapo may Boyfriend?, Barbi D’ Wonder Beki, and Amnesia Love, Paolo Ballesteros has become the go-to guy for queer roles in film. Following a history of flamboyant performers such as Dolphy, Roderick Paulate, and Vice Ganda, his penchant for cross-dressing and impersonation tickles the Pinoy’s funny bone.
In My 2 Mommies, he plays Manu, a successful events mogul who finds out he has a long-lost son (Tristan, played by Marcus Cabais) with old friend Monique (Solenn Heussaff). The catch: Manu is in a stable relationship with gay partner Ronnie (Joem Bascon). While initially detesting the idea, he becomes more and more fond of Tristan. His paternal instincts kick in, and he clashes with Monique as he tries to wiggle himself into his son’s life. Hilarity ensues.
There’s a lot that could have gone wrong in My 2 Mommies based on material alone. But somehow – and much credit to Jose Javier Reyes’ screenplay – it got most things right. It challenges the preconceived notions of what family and queerness are all about. Manu’s prejudices are put to the test with his love for Tristan, and we see his transformation from egotistical and unsure to selfless and assured. Ah, the wonders that fatherhood can do.
The two parents are given clear albeit contrasting motivations on how the child has to be raised, taking in sound advice from the people surrounding them. They both have valid points but are unable to reach a fair compromise for most of the running time. I just wished the fighting lasted a bit longer. It’s a shame that Monique’s cattiness emerged too late. Good thing that the film is a landmine of Manu’s deadpan quips that are nothing but comedy gold.
I’d also like to point out how well-conceived Tristan’s character is. It’s so easy for him to end up a brat, know-it-all, or saint, but he emerges as a smart and sympathetic kid who genuinely wants to get close to his father.
If there’s one nitpick, it’s just that Manu and Ronnie’s relationship seems too romanticized? There are several instances I was waiting for Ronnie to call out Manu on how badly he’s being treated, but he remains supportive all-throughout. Nevertheless, overall, My 2 Mommies is a pleasant surprise and is an easy recommendation. And it’s exciting where Paolo Ballesteros takes his career — and roles — from here.