Vilma (Assunta de Rossi) is a hotshot advertising creative director who has been in the business for 20 years. When a new anti-aging product requires fresh ideas from progressive young minds, Vi's time-tested acumen is put to a test. Will she be as contemporary as brazen new rookie and younger colleague Tanya (Ellen Adarna) who's expected to clinch the Belo product? Her boss Santi (Carmi Martin) isn't promising her the account just yet.
When Estelle is pitted against Empress for a lucrative product endorsement, it didn't even take the competition 5 minutes to clinch the deal. During Estelle's go-see/auditions, she is subjected to more embarrassment that reduced her to a shrinking mess. How will she grab the project from Empress' arrogant grasp?
Judith Madamba (Angeline Quinto) is an aggressive realtor, selling 10 units in six months. But her enterprising successes don't translate to her personal life. She's weighed down by issues of self-esteem. In fact, she feels she doesn't "fit" in the social circle of his boyfriend Pocholo's (Tom Rodriguez) wealthy family. She just wants to impress them so. In her sheer paranoia, she ends up making a fool of herself.
Three disparate lives intersect in Antoinette Jadaone's rollicking "Beauty in a Bottle", a cinematic dissertation on people's penchant for physical beauty and corporeal perfection. While we aim to be paragons of pulchritude, we forget that we have limitations we need to embrace to be able to truly find happiness and contentment.
The movie is buoyed by its finger-snapping pace and exceptional performances from its zany cast, particularly Angelica Panganiban as the eternally insecure actress Estelle and Assunta de Rossi as the aging advertising executive Vilma. Panganiban's audition scene and her shooting sequences ("Come back to the young and beautiful you.") are nothing short of brilliant, and are testaments of Panganiban's indisputable versatility. Quite frankly, it's hard to think of someone else who can evenly shift from drama to comedy, with flying colors in both.
De Rossi displays impeccable comic delivery and timing as she rolls with the narrative punches. What have Assunta and Alessandra's parents been feeding the girls that turned these siblings into spectacular actresses, one wonders? Empress plays a deliciously scornful version of herself, and comes up with one the year's most illustrious cameos, the consummate rival to a magnificent Panganiban.
How did Angeline Quinto fare? Not so badly actually. Though visibly awkward in a few scenes, Quinto breezes through her role with wanton enthusiasm, valiant enough to take thespic risks. This, after all, isn't her forte. But with temperament written to suit her personality, it's hard to make a false move. This is Quinto's card to a legitimate acting career.
Framed by thoughtful "steps to attaining success" (Step 1 - Just say yes; Step 4.1 - Know your product; Step 10 - Research, research, research; Step 48 - Check on your competition; Step 28.1 - Be better than your competition; Step 39 - Savor your success), the movie percolates with winking charm and raillery. It is provocative, upbeat, and pokes fun on our misperceptions and insecurities. It allows scrutiny of our thoughts on beauty and youth. How far are we willing to pursue them? Do they guarantee success? Or happiness? The film also gathers some of contemporary cinema's most brilliant and dynamic artists: Chris Martinez, Whammy Alcazaren ("Islands", "Colossal"), Atty. Joji Alonso, and of course director Jadaone ("Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay").
This collaboration results into one of the year's most exuberantly exhilarating films. What's better? It screened to a good and receptive crowd. I like that. Great films deserve no less. This allows film makers to churn out more of quality cinema. As a paying audience, this is money well spent.
|Gorgeous Tom plays Angeline's boyfriend Pocholo.|