Monday, June 4, 2012

Born to Love You - Romantic Accidents, Cinematic Mishaps

Disaster strikes every time photographer Rex (Coco Martin) finds tour guide Joey (Angeline Quinto) in a room. In fact, Joey spells calamity in capital letters. She bungles important moments in wedding receptions, vomits on Rex’s lap, falls underwater from a moving boat, and even impulsively slaps the irascible photographer. Rex wants nothing to do with Joey, until a lucrative corporate account throws them together.

Rex needs the dough. Besides, this will keep his fledgling studio afloat. Moreover, he has urgent bills to pay, and this account is crucial to the survival of his studio. Meanwhile, Joey is counting on this project for more clamorous reasons: his indigent – but happy – family is short on cash. Electricity’s been disconnected at home. If things turn out fine, this project could send her to Korea where she plans on finding her biological father.  

After rescuing Joey from near drowning, their relationship evolves into something more amorous. The cat-and-mouse bickering soon turns into a more intimate relationship. Joey takes him home to meet her parents (she has a doting mother Dulce and a loving stepfather Tatay Yoyoy – played by Malu de Guzman and Al Tantay). While Joey opens her world to him, Rex is dismissive where his family is concerned. The burden of his past heavily straddles on his shoulders. When he was a child, his mother (Eula Valdez) packed her bags for a job overseas and never came back. What’s worse, she remarried, leaving Rex’s father (Tonton Gutierrez) a broken man. Fast forward to the present. Rex’s father is dead, and his mother’s new family moves back to Manila.

While Sylvia (Rex’s mother, Eula Valdez) tries hard to bridge the emotional chasm, Rex continues to withdraw himself away from his even-tempered stepfather (Albert Martinez) who’s an influential businessman. When Rex finds himself in a bind (he couldn’t pay his bills and his bank cheques bounce), he adamantly refuses their help. Things come to a head when he learns that he was, in fact, saved by the extended family he abhors. He makes a rabid escape oblivious of Joey’s pleas. Then a vehicular accident once more changes the course of events.

Director Jerome Chavez Pobocan's story moves with disjointed and uneven temperaments (yes, there are several here), fielding irrational characters with obvious affinity to mishaps. Moreover, the telenovela trappings of the back stories feel too contrived and manipulative, you might as well ride the roller coaster while they are piling up the narrative implausibilities.Why such discombobulating troughs and ebbs? The script is essentially a hodgepodge of formulaic strains admixed with a thousand and one dramatic contrivances. Let's throw in several ideas, they think. Some thing's bound to work, debah?. Well, it didn't!

Angeline Quinto fields an asperous performance. She traipses around in awkward, indeterminate moments, vacillating between the dramatic and the comic, but neither translates into anything vaguely sincere.      

Some scenes are even worse, like when she just stares blankly where there should be emotions. Let's take a line for example: "Nararamdaman mo ba ang sinasabi ng puso ko?" (Say what?) "Wag mong tingnan ang wala sa yo. Tingnan mo kung anong meron ka!" Heavy stuff, right? But Quinto ends up with nothing but an emphatic delivery devoid of emotions. You might as well get a kalabasa and make it talk!

Coco Martin does better, although he is likewise hobbled by a burdensome script and his impasse with the English language: "May is-tep pa-der ka na!" "Pers taym mo, Predie?" Even some of his angry lines end up too cumbersome to empathize with. It's easy to lose sympathy because you have an inkling that Rex's pathological grief could be mental illness more than heartbreak. Ang OA eh! He desperately needed help and when he gets it, he turns away, and even huffs like an ingrate!

The problem here is, there are too many scriptwriters tweaking the story, thus focus is lost on divergent concepts stirring the film into everywhere but a logical unraveling of events. There are 2 (or 3) main writers and 6 script consultants, yet they come up with this pedestrian story?! It's almost unfathomable that eight heads worked on this rubbish. Such artistic destitution is getting more indisputable by the second!

Is this romcom? Light romance? Musical? Heavy drama? Existential movie? Try checking all. When Rex is seen standing on a cliff, gazing at a golden sky, you somehow get goosebumps because you knew this was the protracted version of a coffee commercial: Para kanino ka ba gumigising sa umaga? You crash your car on boulders and all you could ask is this fallacious question?

Apparently, the dingbats at the Cinema Evaluations Board (CEB) were tickled pink by such delusions because they rated this a B! What is an impressionable and simplistic group of twats doing in a board that's supposed to pick out gems from theatrical weeds? But maybe this film needs its 50% rebate. After all, when I watched it on a weekend, at a very prime time 7 PM, there were only seven souls populating the huge Galleria cinema! If you were to believe the television hype, you would think there was a pandemonium crowd queuing for this cinematic detritus. Well, there's seven souls and myself. There is justice after all.

Coco Martin plays Rex Manrique

Angeline Quinto plays Joey: Can't even deliver a believable yawn!


jelai said...

Angeline is just too trying hard for me, in everything that she does.

As for Coco, I would like to suggest that his next movies and or teleseryes will have scripts that are English-free. He's just so terrible at speaking the language. Angeline too. Get it?

Cathy Pena said...

@ Jelai:

I don't know why it's essential to have these actors speak the Queen's language when they are too ill at ease with it. It only exposes their weakness. It's alright to speak the vernacular because Tagalog is a beautiful language.

Imagine Angeline Quinto playing the role of an English translator? It's clearly too much of a stretch for her. In fact, her handlers wouldn't allow reporters and journalists to interview her in English. Toothache daw! Haha

Anonymous said...

this movie gave me a migraine. there are so many loopholes and illogical things. some of which (i cant remember all) include:

1 - noong babalik na sina Angeline sa Maynila, nagbyahe na daw sila ng maaga kasi maaga daw flight nila. and then, Coco wins them back. Ano yun? nagtapon ng pera sa pambili ng ticket? were they using house money or their personal money? yaman niyo ha!

2 - nagwala si coco because he had a talk with his stepdad... he turned the tables, etc. and angeline comes... who annoyingly segues to asking, "ano ba talaga tayo, rex?" di ba makapaghintay ang paglalandi? kita mo ng nag-i-emo yung lalaki about family matters, saka ka sisingit

3 - nabulag si coco. tapos nagtago! naghira pa ng "private investigator" ang nanay niya para matunton siya, pero di siya mahanap? isnt it logical to look for all the hospitals near the site of the accident? for a wealthy family, di ba nila kayang manawagan sa mass media?

4 - related sa #3, tapos, for someone na "nagtatago," pakalat kalat si Coco sa may Taal? (and he got there alone! kudos, for a blind man to reach that place alone), and then, biglang makikita ni Angeline ng ganun ganun na lang?

5 - for someone who uses his eyes since childhood (photography), that's how Coco reacts to blindness? calmness? may parusa sa sarili pang nalalaman? you'd go crazy, man! you've been doing photography all your life and you lose your vision!

6 - angeline prefers to first bring coco to some braille school kesa dalhin siya muna sa nanay ni coco! ano yun???

PS: I saw Coco Martin's real name (Rodel Nacenciano) in the list of Executive Producers. Really, Coco? This is your idea of a good mainstream film worth investing in? After all your international acclaim, this is the kind of film you would be glad to be exec prod of?

-jason laxamana

Cathy Pena said...

@ Jason:

Beautifully enumerated! I actually had so many other issues about plot holes but I got lazy just writing about it. So... in the spirit of completion, I can add a few more.

1. Coco gets thrown to jail for something akin to estafa. Isn't this unbailable? He doesn't have a case merely against the people he owe money to, but the banks as well. Then what happens when he gets off jail? His wrath exponentially increases. Instead of being grateful for getting off jail sodomy, he drives himself to a boulder!

2. When he finds Angeline unconscious, he doesn't even exert the effort to check her condition. Guilt? Probably so, but its beyond thoughtlessness to not care at all how your girlfriend is doing. What despicable creature populate our romcoms these days. Mga walang modo. Now who can sympathize with someone as stupid?

3. He magically locates Angeline's purse at the bottom of the ocean! Such situation should be like finding needle in a haystack yet he amazingly, magically finds the wallet! Talk about fantasy adventure.

4. Who would believe that Angeline could translate any foreign word to English when she can even hardly enunciate simple phrases from the Queen's language? Exposing a "blind performer" to her weaknesses puts emphasis to the filmic insight of this film makers and Quinto's "very smart" handlers. Star Cinema wants to "manufacture" another Sarah Geronimo distinctly forgetting that Geronimo wasn't made overnight. She paid "extra" duties to so many Viva Films in the past before she eventually merited a lead role. Mapakla tuloy!

5. Coco Martin's producing duties is more economics than an artistic endeavor (he did the same for "Noy"). He probably thought he could cash in on Quinto's charms - or the lack of it.

6. I remember Bea Alonzo's Dianne for Laurice Guillen's "Sa Yo Lamang" because that was a character brimming with hatred for the father who turned his back from his family - only to return years later. Coco's wrath is similar to Bea's, but there's a grave difference between Alonzo's layered performance and Martin's full throttle "labas-litid" anger. You totally understand Bea's, who provides succinct empathy not found in Coco Martin's. Now there's the bid difference between class and otherwise.

Thanks for enumerating them, Jason. I should have done that! :)

Anonymous said...

as in real migraine. if i were a pregnant woman the moment i was watching the film, major miscarriage i tell you.

-jason l

Cathy Pena said...

@ Jason:

Abortion is a criminal offense! Kasuhan natin? :)