If Maskot feels like a throwback to the good old 70s and early 80s Indonesian comedy, then perhaps Robin Moran, the director, feels the right to do so after watching tremenduous amount of those kind films during the preparation of making his debut film here. Again, it is only a possibility.
However, the statement above is derived as one can’t help drawing many similarities in this film to the films on the era. At the surface, the basic story premise of Maskot is in many ways applicable as if the film was made by Nja Abbas Acup, Asrul Sani or Chaerul Umam. The film revolves around a search for a hen believed to be the symbol of prosperity for a ketchup company. As the owner of the company (El Manik, in a successive roles required him lying on a hospital bed after his turn in Berbagi Suami) has a declining health, he requests his clumsy son (Ariyo Wahab) to be his successor, but he can only be so if he is able to find that particular hen to be used as a mascot for the factory. Eventually, the search trip has become some sort of coming-of-age journey which resolves in a good way guaranteed to satisfy everyone.
After all, it’s a comedy, right? And good Indonesian comedies of both abovementioned decades, think of Inem Pelayan Sexy, Bintang Kejora and the likes of them, relies on the comic presence of the cast. We are not talking about Bing Slamet, Benyamin S. or Ateng-Iskak films here, where the mere presence of these comic figures would evoke your laughter. Referring to the two aforementioned film, for sure Jalal was on the former film, but hardly any comedy actors present in the latter film, which were filled by character actors such as El Manik, Ikranegara and Amak Baldjun.
Following the similar steps, Moran gave sizable opportunities for the supporting cast of his films to shine. Particularly Butet Kertaradjasa, one of the iconic theatre figures of recent times, and Epi Kusnandar of the TV-series Kejar Kusnadi. Both are able to seize their presence with unique wits and unexpected charm that any scenes without them seem to exhaust themselves.
Thus, in the days of endless mindless teenage romance or horrifying horror, having an Indonesian film that feels Indonesian all around is a refreshing take to indulge.