Machiavellian twist for Tom-Carla starrer
Do you believe in destiny? Well, Karina Miranda (Carla Abellana, winsome as she is lovely) does. It’s been 10 years since the perpetually single executive assistant began carrying a torch for Carlo Mercado (Tom Rodriguez), who has been ignoring her since they were seatmates in college.
But, hope springs eternal for Carrie, who seizes the opportunity to reconnect with Carlo—after all, a psychic once predicted that the dashing but elusive man of her dreams could end up marrying her!
With the help of her best friend, Hannah (Bangs Garcia), Carrie finds a way to get close to Carlo, who’s now a photographer. She wastes no time grabbing his attention—by “liking” all his posts in social media, pretending to love Greek food (his favorite), and sending her bridal-shop clients to hire the services of the struggling photographer! And the deliberate plan seems to be working!
One dreamy, drunken night, Carlo and Carrie share a kiss. But, soon after she declares her love for him, he starts avoiding her! Worse, her wicked boss, Ms Mimi (the sublime Mylene Dizon) blames her for a bungled assignment—which leads to her resignation! What to do?
Brisk-paced and gorgeously photographed, Jose Javier Reyes’s rom-com cleverly utilizes Abellana’s heretofore little-known (but potent) rom-com thespic sensibility as she mines her character’s relentless optimism with confidence, flair and brio—although it’s hard to suspend disbelief that someone as beautiful as Carla is that easy to ignore!
For his part, Rodriguez is weighed down by a sketchily limned, two-dimensional character—who’s as user-friendly as he is, well, “friendly.” As Paulo, Carrie’s longtime admirer, the raw but promising Mike Tan acquits himself well, even if his character is an awkward fit in this stilted romantic equation—an ill-conceived narrative strain used to manipulate the direction of Carlo and Carrie’s love story.
This is disappointing because, utilized well, Tan could have been a formidable foil and “foe” for Tom’s presence and charisma, given the emotional imperviousness and cluelessness of his less-than-likable character.
Tom and Carla look good together, but they aren’t served well by material that relies heavily on hit-and-miss gimmicks. That said, we must commend the unforced and spot-on comedic flair of the deliciously evil Dizon, Garcia and Ricci Chan, Carrie’s hilariously swishy coworker, who’s in love with a guy—who has a boytoy of his own!
The movie gets off to a breezy start, but soon succumbs to its incoherent latter sections. It’s also difficult to fully empathize with a heroine who willingly submits herself to a string of self-inflicted embarrassing situations.
The feel-good ending happens quickly and uneventfully. The loquacious girl behind us couldn’t control her annoyance, exclaiming incredulously, “What was that?”
What started out as a delectable romantic romp spirals downward into a clumsy, Machiavellian twist-driven ploy that’s utilized to give loopy Carrie and lousy Carlo the requisite Happily Ever After they think they deserve!
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