Orphan girl Eya Rodriguez (Nadine Lustre), a self proclaimed “panget” (unsightly), finds herself employed as the personal maid of affluent Cross Sandford (James Reid), the goodlooking but bratty student council president of Willford, the prestigious college where Eya is a scholar. In a place populated by privileged half breeds and well heeled guys who can afford to buy P250,000 friendship rings for their crushes, Eya is an oddball. Popular cliques don’t even hide their aversion towards our pimple-ridden protagonist who seems oblivious to everyone’s antipathy. After all, she only has to deal with her employer’s (Gabby Concepcion) capricious son to earn the monthly P25,000. What’s better, they don’t have to like each other. He loathes her (or does he) as much as she dislikes him – and Cross can’t even “fire” her.
Plot thickens when popular jock Chad (Andre Paras) starts stalking Eya. What’s happening here? When Cross facetiously declares to everyone on campus that Eya is actually his girl friend, life gets more complicated for our heroine who now has to parry the blows against jealous school mates. Cross, on the other hand, requires her presence more and more. What to do?
Director Andoy Ranay’s film adaptation of this best-selling Filipino romance novel follows this director’s penchant for glossy, upper-middle class macrocosm (“Sosy Problems”, “When the Love is Gone”). Unfortunately, this acumen does nothing but highlight Ranay’s mediocre directorial vision. The first third of the narrative could have benefited with a snappy, tongue-in-cheek cadence. Mostly though, every cinematic artifice fell flat, you couldn't help but place Cross and Eya's catfights as inferior versions of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla’s “Got 2 Believe” characters. The comparison is inevitable. But we don't think less of James Reid and Nadine Lustre’s charm quotient.
Reid and Lustre give it their best. By the film's middle part, they breach through the tedium of mediocrity and you actually start enjoying their earnest banter. How can you not fall in love with Reid’s dreamy gaze? If you’re a living-and-breathing female species, you won’t be immune to Reid’s cinematic punch. Why Star Cinema eventually let go of Reid, who is otherworldly gorgeous (and could sing like a prince), is beyond me. Andre Paras, on the other hand, suffers from pallid characterization. He seems too gimpy for a sports jock, you'd understand why girls would look elsewhere despite Paras' good looks and tall frame. Yassi Pressman meanwhile underwhelms. AJ Muhlach steals some misplaced scenes but his presence is nothing but random and disposable.
|Andre Paras is Chad. Yassi Pressman is Lory (aka Lorraine Keet).|
When Eya finally shares her masquerade dance with the be-masked Cross, how can she not recognize him? It was baffling. She lived and worked closely (intimately, even) with Cross that she’d be half a nitwit not to recognize his physical form, smell, much less his voice! Yeah, yeah, he had colds - and you can tell that to the marines! Or was she really daft? And how can one desecrate Cinderella’s “lost shoe” chapter with a rather shoddy and absolutely egregious version? Did Eya suddenly turn into a magical teen queen that a dozen would show up to declare their love for her? Who owned that darn tattered, smelly-looking shoe? On their way to telling a story, someone got caught between vertigo and a daydream. It was embarrassing; it made me blush.
|AJ Muhlach plays Ian, Cross' best friend and Eya's misplaced, err... fairy godfather.|