Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough (2016) Review – A Satirical Deja Vu

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Translation: “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” means “The Woman In The Septic Tank” in English.

One of the biggest criticisms of the movie industry is its constant need to make a sequel for EVERYTHING. Ironically, a movie that’s hellbent on giving the middle finger to this addiction to sequels is in itself, a needless sequel.

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough is the sequel to Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank (2011). Now a critically acclaimed director, Rainier (Kean Ciprano) and his trusted line producer Jocelyn (Cai Cortez) try to convince the popular actress Eugene Domingo (as herself) to star in their upcoming film, The Itinerary.  A satirical, ideological battle between artistic filmmaking and filmmaking for the masses then ensues.

Given how the mainstream Filipino scene is responsible for churning out 10 god-awful Enteng Kabisote movies, it is more than deserving of a satirical anal rampage than indie cinema. #ForeverIsNotEnough is thankfully, that much needed and timely “Fuck You” despite some major mishaps.

Return Of The Satire: The Comback

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#ForeverIsNotEnough follows the original movie’s humor and doesn’t let up for a single second. As its characters bitch about how to make the “perfect” movie for Filipino audiences, #ForeverIsNotEnough shows just how mentally handicapped the established filmmaking formula is through means of well-written dialogue delivered by effective comedians.

Every time Rainier expresses his artistic, cinematic vision, Eugene Domingo (playing an exaggerated version of herself) fucks it all up by shoehorning the same cliches and stereotypes that have plagued local Filipino movies for too long. And she does this in the name of “The Little Guy” (i.e. The Masses), in an all too familiar pandering and condescending tone.

From parlor gay best friends to contrived happy endings to sexy love interests played by questionably young stars, every known trope responsible for killing the last shreds of dignity in Filipino films is mercilessly skewered to emphasize how fucking stupid something like a forced theme song is.

#ForeverIsNotEnough also hits both sides, shaming the indie side of the debate once again for being the pretentious counterpart of the brain-dead mainstream movies. When it comes to the satire, #ForeverIsNotEnough pulls no punches in an all-out offensive aimed at filmmakers who are too caught up in the beautiful smell of their own shit-stained rectums.

The Pains Of Sequels

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If the previous description sounds familiar, that’s because #ForeverIsNotEnough is a glorified rehash of the original movie. The sequel follows the exact same flow of events in the first Septic Tank, beginning with a road trip to meet Eugene Domingo right down to an ending that glorifies sewage waste.

As funny as the comedic exchanges were, they were merely recycled from the first movie. The characters make their cases for and against mainstream cinema in the same way they did in Septic Tank when they were attacking and/or defending independent films. The rehash is best seen when Eugene Domingo launched into a spiel of overacting by showing off her so-called “Three Levels Of Heartbreak:”  a nearly word-for-word repeat of her “Three Levels Of Drama” from the first installment.

But #ForeverIsNotEnough’s most blatant showcase of repetition is the entire movie itself. The first Septic Tank was basically an existential road-trip that ended with shattered dreams when the main cast discovered how shallow and vapid the supposedly artistic Eugene Domingo really was. It was a funny climax that perfectly summed up the movie’s satire – which is why the sequel stretched this 20 minute finale into a fucking two hour film. In doing so, the jokes repeated themselves, the sketches dragged on too long, and the sequel chose to play it safe by treading familiar ground instead of doing anything else.

The only new addition #ForeverIsNotENough brings is a debate between Rainier and Eugene, when their polarizing thoughts on what Filipino moviegoers deserve finally comes to a head. This short but thought-provoking climax was both self-deprecating yet somehow, lacking self-awareness. Given the movie’s overall slapstick tone, it was jarring to see the characters suddenly take their plight so seriously before getting back to the mandatory sexual innuendos and shit jokes. Where the first movie was a satire with dashes of slapstick, the sequel is a marathon of sex jokes with a single moment of clarity near the end.

Back To The Shitter

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While not bad from a technical standpoint, the new installment of Septic Tank feels more like a rerun than a brand new story that follows familiar characters. One may cite the movie’s parody of franchise sequels as a defense, but if a repeat of the first movie’s best moments is all audiences wanted, then all they have to do is buy the fucking DVD of it.

Despite the credible points that #ForeverIsNotEnough makes, it falls for the same traps that define shitty Filipino filmmaking. Granted, it’s leagues beyond Vic Sotto’s overpriced masturbation tools like Enteng Kabisote 10 And The Abangers (2016), but it’s disappointing to see a satire make the same mistakes its primary target commits. It’s one thing to point out something wrong, but it’s another to imitate it in such a straight-faced manner.

But even with all of these mistakes, it’s a testament to the talents of the filmmakers and cast when they still managed to deliver an entertaining movie with a relevant message. Not once did the movie feel lazy or forced, and it was a goddamned blast to laugh with. If #ForeverIsNotEnough was a stand-alone comedy movie, it would have rocked the Filipino movie scene. But as a follow-up to the original Septic Tank, it only serves as a pale reminder of what made the first movie so great and begs the question of a sequel’s necessity because it’s just more of the same.

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank worked wonders because it was lightning caught in a bottle. Meanwhile, its sequel failed to recognize the one-off accomplishments of its predecessor and tried to revive the glory days instead of attempting to surpass them – even if it had the chance and capability to do so. In an ironic twist of fate, Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough became a slave to the very formula it loathes.


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