Can We Still be Friends Movie Review

Can I still be friends with Star Cinema after watching this movie?

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Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz join forces for the second time in Can We Still Be Friends?

Directed by Prime Cruz and written by Jen Chuansu (the duo behind Sleepless), the movie shows the volatile relationship between Diego (Anderson) and Sam (Muñoz). After their break-up, the two former lovers seem to have a hard time coping with the loss. So they had an idea to remain friends (to be specific, roommates). Can they still be friends?

Let me first say what I like about this movie…

The chemistry between Anderson and Muñoz is undeniable. The kilig factor is real. It really feels like they have been partners for 8 years.

Arci Muñoz is the absolute star of this movie. Her acting is very impressive. One minute she is this very innocent, childlike, and charming woman; the next, she is a very mature and goal-oriented individual.

Also, I gotta give credit where credit is due. Gerald Anderson’s acting has improved…like a lot!

Juan Miguel Severo, the Spoken Word artist and the one who portrays Sam’s gay bestfriend JM, is effective, too. However, his character and the female bestfriend of Sam (sorry, forgot the name) could have easily been just one character.

I also like how the movie starts with Diego and Sam already in their 8th year. It is a welcome sight to watch a romance movie that is not set before the relationship.

And that is just about it…

SPOILER ALERT

First of all, the character of Diego is just sooooooooooo insanely insensitive to Sam (his girlfriend of 8 years) to such a degree that it is just really unrealistic.

Also, the very reason the two broke up is because of Diego’s immaturity and unwillingness to accept responsibility. But for some reason, the movie decides that Sam should be the one to make the move. She desperately (beeeeeeegginggggg) asked for him to come back. The one who gave the most is still the one who lost the most.

At the end of the day, they got together in very predictable fashion. And suddenly…POOF…Diego is now responsible and reliable. How did he turn into such a man? We don’t know. The movie never bothered to show us the progression of his character arc. Sam, on the other hand, had better characterization. She became a better person, and we saw that journey.

Also, the movie had a wedding vow (between JM and his husband) at its climax. The message basically says accept your partner for who he is because you love him. This apparently became the catalyst for Sam’s aforementioned beeeeeeeeg. NO!! I mean, it is true that you have to accept your partner for who he/she is, but if there is something that is needed to be corrected (ie. immaturity and a no-no attitude to obligations) he/she has to change!

Lastly and a bit nitpicky, there was a scene in the movie that has an obvious continuity error.

Can We Still Be Friends? has an amazing cast with good performances, but its unrealistic and predictable plot, followed by its insane message about love, its heartbreak, and its possible return, makes this ultimately…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

Luck at First Sight Movie Review

Luck and Fate play tag in director Dan Villegas’ latest rom-com flick.

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Directed by Dan Villegas (Walang Forever and English Only, Please), this movie shows the first pairing of Jericho Rosales and Bela Padilla in a rom-com.

Joma (Rosales), a struggling gambler, is down on his luck. His neighbors demand him to pay his debts; he has no money; and bad luck seems to follow him. Desperate, he bought a green marble that will help him find his life charm. This leads him to meet Diane (Padilla), a woman who manages his sick father’s drugstore. Due to possibly luck, everytime Joma and Diane touch each other, good luck (particularly money) comes knocking. They used their good luck to win gambles and make money. There is only one rule though… If they want the good luck to continuously prosper, they should not fall in love with each other.

First, let me tell you about what I like about this movie. There is obvious chemistry between Jericho Rosales and Bela Padilla. Their interactions and “falling in love” scenes are cliche, true…But it still manages to be organic because of the movie’s two stars. Jericho Rosales has proved that even at his age (even joked at the film), he is still a heartthrob and a good partner to any star. Also, I love it when he acts like a desperate gambler. It is pitiful and pathetic at the same time.

The scene stealers of the show have to be Kate (Kim Molina) and Boggs (Cholo Baretto), who portrayed Diane’s cousin and Joma’s cousin, respectively. They provided most of the comic relief.

However, the movie suffers a lot of problems.

First, it is plagued with rom-com cliches. Even with a relatively new concept (life charm), the story depends heavily with methods used a hundred times in rom-coms. In fact, an equation such as “gambler with lots of debts+woman with sick father+life charm+rule about not falling in love=this movie” left little to the imagination. The story unraveled the way I expect it to be. Scenes went by the way I expect it to be. There was a formula, and the filmmakers followed it religiously.

BUT, the last scene of the movie may have went to a better ending (once you get to know the main characters), but sadly it decided to go to the comfortable ending. It was pretty much a downer for me.

SPOILER ALERT

Second, an established characteristic of Joma was thrown out the window in the last 30 minutes of the movie: his bad luck in gambling… It would not make sense for him to suddenly be that good in gambling. If he was that good in gambling, then he does not need Diane in the first place, and that would only contradict the very set-up of this movie. Though it lazily explains why (THE POWER OF LOVE), that only raises new questions! Why hasn’t Joma’s “love” for his family/abandoned home not enough to give him this amazing gambling skills? Does it have to be sexual love for it to work? It’s like that Frozen plothole again…

Lastly (though it is a bit nitpicky), Jeric Raval was underutilized in this movie. Instead of Thou Reyes, he could have been the film’s antagonist. I have to be clear though…Thou Reyes is actually an entertaining antagonist in this movie.

Luck at First Sight suffers from cliche, cliche, and most importantly cliche, and only the incredible chemistry of its actors managed to save this from being a bore and a cringe fest. This is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

My Ex and Whys Film Review

They could simply just shoot the “Liza Soberano in the rain” slow-mo shot for 2 hours, and it will still be a wonderful sight.

my-ex-and-whys-secondary-posterDirected and co-written by Cathy Garcia-Molina, My Ex and Whys stars Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano. An expert in the rom-com genre, Garcia-Molina attempts to give us yet another memorable rom-com.

The story starts with call center agent/blogger Cali Ferrer (Soberano), whose twitter blog @TheBakitList slowly gains fame. After attending a blog con, Cali has an online discussion/argument with a new blogger, Gio Martinez (Enrique Gil), who happens to be her ex. The twitter war leads to both their blogs being instantly famous, and they are hired to promote a bag company. Meanwhile, Gio attempts to win Cali over again, but Cali’s trust has been long gone.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room…Liza Soberano is simply gorgeous*! Like wow! Every frame involving her is a beautiful painting. That “Cali and Gio meets for the first time” scene was so cheesy yet you can’t help admit that Liza is really a beautiful woman.

It is quite clear that the two have chemistry. C’mon, they have been working on their love team for a few years already. When the humor and the drama hits, you feel that a relationship is about to be rebuilt or destroyed all over again.

Speaking of which, both the humor and the drama work so well in this film. Back and forth the humor and the drama go. Much of the humor is provided by Gio’s all-male family. Joey Marquez shines as the patriarch of Gio’s family. The drama between the two leads is very effective because of their chemistry. You can really sympathize with Cali’s pain and you can feel Gio’s attempts to redeem himself.

Also, the film used social media as a means to move the story forward, which is pretty rare in Filipino movies. Every tweet is treated like a piece of dialogue.

Besides Liza Soberano, the other scene stealer of the film is the character of Lee (Ryan Bang). At the start of the film, Bang portrayed the character with his usual image, a dorky Asian who is having a hard time speaking Filipino. But then he starts acting in the drama scenes. Like wow! I never knew Ryan Bang can act.

The sub-plot about Lee’s upcoming wedding was also done well. It provided Lee’s character to develop more than just a bestfriend of the two leads, and it allowed the romance between the two leads to be set in motion. However, in a few parts of the film, it outshines the primary narrative.

Also, some of the minor characters in the film were either unconvincing (Cali’s two brothers), exaggerated (Cali’s girl bestfriend), or unnecessary (Lee’s Korean friend).

SPOILER ALERT

Lastly, the end of the film ignored or did not present the consequences of Cali’s actions. Her public image and professional career might be in jeopardy for all we know, but the film showed us the happy ending where they get together.

My Ex and Whys is another rom-com from Cathy Garcia-Molina that hits the right spot most of the time. Though it may have been better if certain characters were either scrapped or polished, it is still a fun watch and may pull some heart strings. This film is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

*Kinda obvious I have a crush on her