MOVIE REVIEW: GIRLFRIEND FOR HIRE (Vanessa de Leon, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Girlfriend for Hire:

1. It was only a couple of years ago when they showed Bride for Rent, a Star Cinema rom-com where a hilarious Kim Chiu played the beard of the wooden Xian Lim. She pretended to be his future bride because she desperately needed money and he plotted the whole charade to please his grandmother (and get his trust fund).

Girlfriend for Hire had the exact same plot. Nami (Yassi Pressman) needed scholarship money so she agreed to be the pretend girlfriend of Bryle (Andre Paras) whose desperate grandfather wanted him to continue their Stanford legacy.

Seriously though, why couldn’t these rich, decent, good-looking men land real girlfriends? Made me wonder if it was an equipment or gender issue. And why do these movies always involve renting/hiring women? May I suggest Boytoy for Lease with KC Concepcion and Piolo Pascual?

2. I found it off that Bryle kept treating Nami like shit and it was supposed to be funny and romantic. In one scene, he actually commanded her to “get down on (her) knees and give it to (him)”. In another scene, out of selos, he dragged her inside a room like Chris Brown being sweet to Rihanna. The worst was when he ate the only piece of chocolate strawberry cake that she was craving for. As a fat kid outside, I felt her physical and emotional pain.

3. I love the Yassi-Andre love team not only because they’re bagay but also because they’re not annoying actors (they even had the most genuine onscreen kiss in this movie). I guess I was surprised when the usually charming Andre was forced to let loose (eyes popping, nostrils flaring, spittle flying) and overact like he was auditioning for a The Mask sequel. In his previous (terrible) movies (Diary ng Panget, Your Place or Mine?), he was funny without even trying. I hope they get way better projects soon. Sayang ang potential.

4. I therefore conclude that the Ultimate Kakaibabe Donnalyn Bartolome is the new Nikki Valdez.

5. My favorite scenes in the movie were:

• When Bryle’s alta grandfather showed him a Powerpoint presentation (presumably made by a 6-year old) of the country’s eligible bachelorettes that he probably met in Cafe Havana

• When Nami mindlessly crossed the street under the pouring rain and Bryle almost hit her with his car and he screamed, “Anong ginagawa mo sa gitna ng ulan?” (Hindi talaga sa gitna ng kalsada??)

• When Nami took Bryle to a palengke and he had the gall to complain about his ruined outfit (white shorts and Toms) (Wait, sarado ba ang lahat ng supermarkets?)

• When Nami’s hot neighbor saw all the ingredients of pesto pasta (noodles, pesto sauce) and correctly guessed that she was preparing the said dish, she acted all shocked and asked, “Paano mo nalaman??” (Girl, it doesn’t take a chef to know that.)

6. Product placements galore. The SMDC sign (complete with Sarah G.’s face) was shown every thirty minutes. I think they even used the exact same room in The Breakup Playlist.

Also, after eating a heavy meal (three cups of rice and all), Bryle still ordered a Greenwich Barkada-Size Ultimate Overload and I knew that was what he ordered because the Greenwich delivery guy loudly said it at the door (“Hello Sir! Here’s your order of one Greenwich Barkada-Size Ultimate Overload!”). Now that got me hungry. Product placement worked.

7. You know this was a fantasy because the lovely Yassi still had her own makeover montage (when all she needed to do was comb her hair). Weirdly enough, she reminded me so much of Mailes Kanapi (please tell me I’m not crazy).

Also, Yassi preferred Andre’s baby fats over her abstastic neighbor (you immediately knew that she didn’t like hottie neighbor because she devoured an entire chicken right in front of him).

8. The last minute introduction of Shy Carlos as Bryle’s girlfriend didn’t serve any purpose except to ensure that the movie reached its quota of Viva talents.

Again, better movies for them, please!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: SNOOPY AND CHARLIE BROWN: THE PEANUTS MOVIE (Steve Martino, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie:

1. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Peanuts comic strip only because I was more of a Baltic & Co. person (age alert!!). I did enjoy their holiday specials and I learned a lot about the human body because of them. When I was around seven, my mom got me this book where the Peanuts gang discussed the difference between the femur and the tibia and the anvil and the stirrup. My favorite part was Snoopy cracking a joke about the funny bone. Good times!

2. Sometimes I still wonder if the phrase “go fly a kite” was because of Benjamin Franklin or actually from Charlie Brown (or neither?).

3. The thing that I really liked about the movie was that it easily captured the charm and sweetness of the cartoon. Although it had a cast of kids, there were so many funny insights (“A comic book? I thought classics need to have hardcovers?”) and grown-up stuff mixed in with the silly gags. Where else can you hear a kid ruminate on self-esteem (and basically life in general) with the line “I came down with a serious case of inadequacies”?

4. I immediately loved the new girl because she nibbled on her pencil. I chewed on mine a lot back in grade school and I could still remember the taste of wood up to now. I always capped it off with a bite on the rubber eraser as well.

5. Who could ever forget the feeling of having a first crush? Although I had always been Lucy (which I’ll explain in a bit), I was still rooting for Charlie Brown all the way. I had my first crush back in third (?) grade and she was a Sophomore that I sat next to in our school bus (more like a van, really). Since we were not in a European film, you know that our love story was doomed from the start.

6. Although the animation in the fantasy scenes with Snoopy and Fifi was really good, I saw it more as a distraction (and part filler) to the main story. I wasn’t surprised that the two Korean girls next to me were sleeping soundly during those bits.

7. As I stated earlier, I was definitely Lucy (not short for Lucifer, I hope). She was mean, crabby, and opinionated, but when needed the most, had a pure heart. Story of my life, the universe rather, right there.

8. Don’t we all have that one dugyot friend in a barkada? The inner OC in me wanted to give Pigpen a bath. And speaking of friends, we all need a Snoopy in our life. I really liked the scene where Charlie Brown accidentally triggered the sprinkler system and Snoopy opened an umbrella for him to which he sadly replied, “Thanks buddy!”. *sniff*

9. I still couldn’t believe that Charlie Brown was able to finish War and Peace (or Leo’s Toy Store by Warren Peace) in a day. I always fall asleep after a few pages. I really need to read that one again.

10. That wah wah wah garbled words when the adults talked was genius. Older people will always sound different to us.

11. Haters can hate but I loved all of Meghan Trainor’s songs in this movie.

12. “Do they like me for who I am or who they think I am?” Was this really a kids’ movie? Good grief!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 14, 2016.)