On their third anniversary, Lester Reyes (Vice Ganda) plans a scheme that would have boyfriend Mike (Luis Manzano) pop the big question. The ambiance has been fashioned for a romantic night - with the help of Lester’s gay posse’ (Ricky Rivero, Ricci Chan, Lassi and IC Mendoza). But while Lester has compiled his anniversary gifts (wrist watch, a pair of shoes, a new cellphone) for his lover, Mike is empty handed. What’s worse, the latter breaks up with Lester. He says he’s turned “born-again Christian”. Their relationship doesn't quite make the equation with regards to his religious belief. Lester is nonplussed and hurt, even mildly suicidal. He may not take Mike's excuse hook, line and sinker, but what can he do?
One day, he learns that Mike is actually engaged to toothsome bank clerk Gemma (Toni Gonzaga). So Lester devices a ruse to make Gemma fall in love with him. He conceives a staged mauling that would have him defend Gemma against some assailants. In this incident, Lester valiantly wins against the masked marauders (played by Lester’s gay friends). He adheres to the unwritten rule book on diligent courtship and showers Gemma with time, attention, and gifts. He deposits P5 million at Gemma’s bank. He ups the charm offensive. After all, he knows what girls want – and he’s pulling all the stops to break Gemma and Mike. Lester even successfully insinuates his presence on Gemma’s fractious parents (Buboy Garovillo and Carla Martinez). Gemma relishes Lester’s seemingly boundless devotion. After all, which girl isn’t flattered by such generous display of affection? Mike isn’t pleased. Why is his girlfriend even entertaining a suitor? They are engaged. Or is she falling for him?
When Lester invites Gemma for the “back to back to back” show of her favorite performers, Aegis and April Boy Regino (a show that Mike dismisses rabidly), she accepts the invitation which Mike eventually learns. Jealous and infuriated, Mike vows to meet this mysterious guy; only to learn that it’s his ex-lover Lester. How can she tell Gemma about his past and warn her about Lester’s real intention? He could lose her for this. What to do?
Director Wenn V. Deramas uncharacteristically delivers an ouvre with substantial cinematic flesh. The narrative is focused, and seems to adhere to a written script, thus Vice Ganda’s improvisational proclivity is less exploited here than his previous starrers. This is good news. The end-product is an engaging story that could be an authentic human experience which can’t be said about “Praybeyt Benjamin” or “Petrang Kabayo”.
Of course there are jokes that didn’t quite work: like when Vice suddenly referenced Madam Auring and Zenaida Seva, the punch line wallowed in decumbency. His impression of Gollum was similarly flat. His constant reference to Lassy’s “repugnant” features eventually gets overbearing – and churlishness is never funny. In fact, in time it seems analogous to the humor that bullies get whenever they intimidate others. But I am nitpicking.
The scenes where Vice mimics Vilma Santos’ scenes from “Darna and the Planet Women” are almost a stroke of genius. Reference to Darna in relation to character definition for homosexuals isn’t lost in us.
This is clearly Vice Ganda’s vehicle. He moves with effulgent rhythm and motivation, almost never missing a beat. His effortless comic delivery is unmatched, and he’s a joy to behold when he drips with sarcasm. Toni Gonzaga, on the other hand, is enthusiastic. Like most of her romcoms (where she reigns supreme), Toni is a magnetic presence. Her self-deprecating ability successfully figures in most of her scenes. She doesn’t mind looking silly, making her comic scenes funnier than they should be.
Meanwhile, Luis Manzano’s efforts are a hit-and-miss. It’s obvious though that Luis has developed a degree of comfort and camaraderie with Vice Ganda (they’ve worked together five times in the past). However, Luis sometimes dives into obsequious territory, making his punch lines more academic than visceral. This tendency deflects humor.
There’s much to relish in “This Guy’s In Love With You, Mare”. I like that Lester is surrounded by a bevy of supportive friends – though they could only be servile since they all work for him. But the message of friendship is strong. The film also cursorily underlines the existence and/or validity of a male-male relationship. Unfortunately, this is comedy and there are limitations of genre, thus getting into the nitty gritty of things goes beyond its nature. But it could be interesting. After all, Mike was a guy who took advantage of Lester’s bounties in exchange of sleeping with him. Who’s prey and who’s predator?
Sam Milby is a delightful presence. He cameos as the anonymous soul who saves a character in the story, one who nearly drowned.
“This Guy…” boasts of a compact narrative, brisk pacing, hilarious situations and inspired performances. It’s easy to see why people flock to see it. This is evident even on its first day of commercial release. This boundless energy is virulent. It electrifies all the way down my seat. So darn funny.