3POL TROBOL: HULI KA BALBON! (Rodel Nacianceno, 2019)

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Sorry, mahal kita Coco Martin, but you will never be Fernando Poe, Jr. Huwag mo sayangin ang husay mo sa pag-arte sa ganitong mga regressive at problematic na pelikula na dapat namatay na noong ‘90s.

Napaka-helpless ng character ni Jennylyn Mercado dito. Nung nagsusuntukan sina Coco at Sam Milby, wala siyang ginawa kundi sumigaw sa gilid ng batis ng “Tama na, tumigil ka na! Pol, mag-ingat ka Pol!” Ganito yung tipo ng mga babae na nagrereklamo sa social media na di sila pinapaupo ng mga lalaki sa MRT. Jusko itatakwil ka ng Gabriela ghorl!

Wasted opportunity na hindi kinuha si Maxine Medina pantapat sa tucked Paloma character ni Coco. Pero at least nalaman ko na fan siya ng White Chicks sa dami ng ginaya dito.

Lakas ng tawa ko nung yung isa sa mga goons hinawakan sa baba si Rowell Santiago para i-check kung buhay pa siya after ng ambush.

Lastly, natuwa ako kasi nagpunta sila sa probinsya namin na Balete, Batangas pero bakit walang punto yung mga nakatira dun. Ah ah naman paano baga nangyari iyun? Nakakaadwa naman aring si Coco baka masampiga ko ay lungangi iyan.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

THE PRENUP (Jun Lana, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The PreNup:

1. If there was one word to describe this movie, it would have to be shrill. Most of the characters delivered their lines a pitch higher than their normal speaking voice. Even the situations felt heightened to an absurd degree that was neither funny funny nor weirdly funny. I was surprised this wasn’t directed by Wenn Deramas.

2. Jennylyn Mercado was a delight to watch in English Only, Please. She was fine here as well but there just wasn’t enough good material for her to work on. With this and the upcoming Walang Forever, I hope that she wouldn’t get typecast in the usual kooky jologs role that really puts the manic in Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Oh, I liked that her character kept talking to herself. She was like a walking Facebook status update. I could definitely relate in all that craziness.

3. Why can’t there be more diversity of gay characters in Pinoy comedies? Do we really have to see the same stereotypical shrieking gay dressed in rainbow-colored outfits? Gardo Versoza (playing one of Jennylyn’s adoptive fathers) sounded like he recently got castrated. Besides, I don’t know any self-respecting gay that would wear a multi-colored, polka-dotted dress shirt unless they have a “Multi-Colored, Polka-Dotted Dress Shirt Theme Day” in the office. In another scene, he was wearing a fitted purple shirt, leopard scarf, and puruntong shorts. Why dear, why?

4. Speaking of adoptive fathers, the other half was played by Dominic Ochoa who was probably just a decade older than Jennylyn. How was that even possible? One of the adopted sisters was played by the delightful Melai Cantiveros and she had a Bisaya accent that was never explained as well.

5. To be honest, Melai completely stole the movie with her outrageous characterization and wicked slapstick comedy. Nothing made sense but her croaking frog scene made me laugh so hard that I actually decided to raise the movie’s rating a star higher.

6. One scene (shown in the trailer) had Jennylyn and Sam Milby engaged in a loud banter that never bothered the other passengers. If I bought an expensive ticket to fly first class and I ended up behind these two loudmouths and their endless bickering, bodies would have flown out the plane.

7. Awkward closet gay joke. Really awkward.

8. Jun Lana is an incredibly talented filmmaker and he directed the beautiful film Bwakaw. I was surprised with all of the continuity errors and technical issues in this movie. In one scene, Jennylyn was writing down everything that she was hearing but the shot prior to that showed the exact same line that she would eventually hear. Was she psychic? Yet in another, she opened her bedroom door saying “Katok ka kasi ng katok” even if Sam was just calling out her name. And how in the world did she end up in a room overlooking the Fort Strip when the previous scene showed her in the MOA grounds? A psychic and a teleporter. Wow!

9. In case you’re curious, Sam did well in his topless shots.

10. The actual prenup wasn’t brought up until midway through the movie when it transformed into a langit vs. lupa clash of clans that was purely offensive and tragically unfunny. Besides, Jennylyn’s house was bigger than our entire street, how could her family even be mistaken as poor? And don’t even bother asking about the ending. Like we’d expect anything else. Yes, everyone had an instant change of heart in the end and they lived happily ever after. Confetti! Confetti! Wooooh!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published October 15, 2015.)

JUST THE 3 OF US (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Just The 3 Of Us:

1. The movie reminded me so much of this late 90’s rom-com with Matthew Perry as a happy-go-lucky bachelor who had a one night stand with a sultry Salma Hayek in Vegas. She ended up pregnant, they got married, and then discovered each other’s personalities while fixing family and work issues. It was called Fools Rush In and I would have asked you to rent it in a local Video City, but I think all of their stores closed ages ago.

2. In this version though, the girl CJ (Jennylyn Mercado) would rather stalk the potential father and be the emotional punching bag of Uno (John Lloyd Cruz) who had a bad temper (F-words everywhere!), an a-hole attitude (“So what? Buhay ko ‘to. Kahit mag-swimming ako sa alak wala ka pakialam!”), crazy reasoning (he wanted to take care of CJ and the baby, but made her sleep on an uncomfortable sofa bed in the living room with poor ventilation), and a drinking problem that were all supposedly reasonable because of abandonment issues. Hey, he wasn’t named Abusado for nothing.

The fact that Star Cinema was willing to romanticize such an abusive relationship and treat the girl like a lovestruck puppy with a Messiah Complex was just absurd, but then again the flimsy story wasn’t its strongest suit. With a master director of the genre (Cathy Garcia-Molina) and two of the most charming comedic actors in local cinema, how could it not work?

3. Iba pa rin talaga ang charms ni John Lloyd (huge eyebags and all). When CJ said “Nabuntis mo ako dahil diyan sa bwiset na ngiti mo”, I actually believed her. I wouldn’t be surprised if several virgins walked out of the theater pregnant and that Lloydie would be faced with multiple paternity suits nine months from now.

The only thing I couldn’t stand about him was all the heavy drinking that he was required to do. Star Cinema, I already sent a plea way back in A Second Chance. Stop being negative enablers, please!

4. It was a good thing that Liberty Pacific was a fictional airline because the crew’s uniforms were tragic. The light blue and beige combination reminded me of horrible high school memories in Ateneo and I didn’t even attend that school.

5. I could easily understand why Lloydie was the regular Pinoy guy’s hero because he always looked like he last stepped in a gym when Slimmer’s World first opened. On top of that, his contract seemed to require that he show off his daddey bod and have a tween-friendly sex scene. A drunk and stooped over the toilet bowl Jennylyn with Lloydie ready to pump behind her even with a missing condom merited the R-13 rating and that scene was just hilarious.

I did feel a bit uncomfortable since there were a few kids from where I was seated. Surely their parents immediately regretted lying about their age.

6. Uno had to be the saddest bachelor because he only had kitchenware for one (seriously, why would anyone buy one plate and glass? Never expecting guests?). He ate microwaved food every day, stocked his fridge with yoghurt, and couldn’t even take care of a plant. Wait, I think I just described myself. Truly sad.

I also couldn’t understand how he could own a Chopard watch and a really nice SUV, and yet couldn’t afford a decent bed. Unless it was really his choice to just place a mattress on the floor for a zen Japanese effect which I totally respect.

7. Jennylyn has perfected these rom-com roles to a tee. Some jokes probably ended up funnier than intended because her every little reaction or expression just added so much to the scene. My favorites were: a) when she realized that she was already falling for him and had to control her smile, and b) when she treated a wasted Lloydie like a baby, cooing and wiping his mouth while saying “Naku naman ang baby naglungad”. Napakahusay.

She was so adorable that I didn’t mind if she was playing a crazy character who would place all of her used pregnancy test kits on a table (ewwness). The only scene that really fell flat was the airport stalking bit, not only because it made me question airport security but also because a bad wig and huge mole never really looked funny except on a Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo impersonator.

8. You know you’re watching a Lloydie movie because someone will definitely get a terrible headache and give him a chance to prescribe Biogesic with a glass of water. Also, there will be a scene where he hasn’t eaten for days and will be offered a partially consumed Magic Flakes crackers. Bonus na lang yung Western Union product placement.

9. Could someone check on Richard Yap? He seemed to have been replaced by a robot.

10. I really loved CJ’s white sando-wearing clan not only because they were the type that would put a huge tarp sa bayan to inform everyone about a family member’s success (raise your hand if you could relate), but also because they had a really funny mantra (the whole “Dahil lahat tayo Manalo!” bit). The scene where CJ didn’t know how to break the news about her pregnancy to her overeager family delivered the loudest and most genuine laughs (“Positive ba anak?”, “Ilang buwan ang training?” “Nine months po.”).

11. When a drunk Baron Geisler showed up as CJ’s ex, I started to wonder why she had a penchant for alcoholics. Forget being a flight attendant, she should have been a caregiver slash therapist.

12. The kid next door was initially cute and funny until she completely invaded their lives and turned into an unwelcome pet.

(Disclaimer: Being averse to kids and pets does not make me a monster. I’m a good person. Huhuhu.)

13. The final scene with the paper airplanes triggered my OCD and I just wanted to enter the screen, pick them all up, and throw them in the trash. How romantic of me.

P.S. Did they really have to reveal the paternity results? Did they expect viewers to go home in baliw-baliwan mode not knowing if Uno was the real father (even if this was a Star Cinema love story and it was all but a given)? Please.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

#WALANGFOREVER (Dan Villegas, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on #WalangForever:

1. Remember how almost everything in One More Chance felt familiar because anybody in a current or previous relationship could relate to at least one of the things happening between Basha and Popoy? It was the exact same feeling I had while watching this film.

All of the scenes that involved Ethan (Jericho Rosales, doing his best work since Alagwa) and Mia (Jennylyn Mercado, consistently affecting) were deeply rooted in reality that one would end up thinking “Hey, I’m Ethan and you’re Mia!”, or “I’m the malambing one that would bite your shoulder while you’re playing PS4!”. No? Just me then?

2. I liked how Mia as a writer exploited her own lovelife to come up with her screenplays. The different stages (The Meet Cute, Going Steady, The Kilig, The Proposal, The Missed Event, The Break Up) not only covered an entire relationship cycle but also served as perfect cliches (the rain, the pillow fight, the mass proposal) for her rom-com movies. For the record, I was almost sent out of the theater for laughing really hard at Bb. Joyce Banal.

3. “You” is probably one of the most kilig songs ever written (“It’s your smile/Your face, your lips that I miss/Those sweet little eyes that stare at me and make me say/I’m with you through all the way/’Cause it’s you…). Bitin ba? Why? Were you singing?

Nothing can beat the cover of Roselle Nava, though (you can admit your age and your liking of the song, no judgments).

4. When the exes met at the group dinner scene, it was so well-executed that as a viewer, I felt awkward and restless in my seat. Why can’t exes be nice to each other? Wait, why are they drinking Tanduay on the rocks?

5. One scene that felt completely off was the extended coffee place bit. It just stretched on for several minutes and no amount of Jerald Napoles could save that one. I also wished the movie was paced much better especially considering the abrupt shift in tone on its second half.

6. Jericho recently won (the controversial) Festival Best Actor and I felt bad for him since he was really good in this movie. His natural smugness was put to good use and even if he was sometimes being a jerk to Jennylyn, I couldn’t bring myself to hate him because he was still charming.

He had two really good scenes that made me choke up a little (who am I kidding, I cried my eyes out as if KFC announced that they will no longer be serving chicken). The first one was when he said “Isama mo naman ako sa mga dreams mo. Kasi ikaw kasama ka lagi sa mga plano ko” and the other when his condition was revealed (didn’t you read the SPOILER ALERT?) and he sobbed “God knows how much I want to live…” and obviously I missed a chunk of the actual dialogue because I was already drowning in my own tears.

7. Although I loved the whole montage with the real life events interspersed with the rom-com movies, I wondered why Ethan never saw any of his girlfriend’s works. How was that even possible? He was never invited to any of the film premieres?

8. When asked which actress she would like to portray herself in a rom-com, Mia quickly answered Maja Salvador and I was like “What??!”. I guess she never saw the horrendous My Cactus Girl (“Peelipeens or wordwayd?”). Would it have been too meta if she actually answered Jennylyn Mercado? (FYI, the Maja thing was explained in the mid-credits sequence. Maybe she was the only major young actress available?).

9. A romantic movie will not be complete without a rush-to-the-airport scene. At least this one didn’t end with a kiss. Although I was still bothered that Mia was able to reach Immigration without a passport or plane ticket.

10. Even with the heartbreaking scenes that involved Ethan’s revelation to his best friend, the revelation to his mom, and the reverse proposal, I probably lost it the most during the Taiwan happy times montage. I guess it was because I knew that their happiness still wouldn’t last. Love just couldn’t save a doomed relationship.

In the last few scenes, Mia was still convincing the audience to believe in forever. But then the theater lights turned on and suddenly we’re back in reality confronting the truth: walang forever.

Rating: ★★★★☆