Cinemalaya 2020: ‘Excuse Me Miss, Miss Miss’ Review

At the first glance, Sonny Calvento’s take on the issue of contractualization in the Philippines may seem like a fluff piece meant to deliver laughs to the audience but its underlying message packs a relatable punch to those who are suffering from the same predicament.

SYNOPSIS: Vangie, a miserable contractual sales lady, is about to lose her job. But in her desperate attempt to convince her boss not to sack her, Vangie uncovers the ultimate jaw-dropping secret to regularization. Excuse Me Miss, Miss, Miss is a social satire about the plight of contractual workers in the Philippines.

I liked the light approach used by Excuse Me Miss, Miss, Miss to shine the spotlight on the millions of workers who are working on a contractual basis in various big time establishments in the country —  from malls to fastfood joints, to construction work. It is a common practice in the Philippines for big businesses to hire employees on a rotational basis to avoid providing these workers long term health benefits and other perks.

Vangie, the central character juggles to make ends meet by keeping multiple jobs to support her ailing mother and the rest of her family.  She slacks off the job, but in a weird sense, understands that she needs the job to support her family.

By keeping it light and funny, the film did not seem too preachy, so as to turn off the audience from the message. By using a fantastical premise to deliver its central message,  it effectively posits the idea that perhaps, there is really no way to keep work life balance if you’re a regular wage earner in the Philippines if you cannot clone yourself.

The light approach was effective, true. But in a sense, it was also the pitfall of the movie. Audience may laugh at Vangie’s antics but highlighting her episodes of slacking kind of deducted from the impact of her supposed commitment to her job. Perhaps, if the film had added scenes showcasing Vangie taking on other jobs, she may not have seemed like too much of a slacker and instead illustrated her as a hardworking contractual worker that was suffering from the injustices of labor laws in the country.
Excuse me Miss, Miss, Miss was an entertaining watch for sure. I understood what it was getting at but I’m not sure if it made as much impact as it should.