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Feisty fun and games with Sharon and Robin

/ 12:04 AM December 06, 2017
From left: Joshua Garcia, Robin Padilla, Sharon Cuneta and Julia Barretto

From left: Joshua Garcia, Robin Padilla, Sharon Cuneta and Julia Barretto

The box-office success currently being enjoyed by the film “Unexpectedly Yours” is significantly heartening because “senioring” leads “carry” the production. So, its strong showing proves that “aging” stars can still score a hit—if they come up with an unusual or exceptional film.

Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla do exactly that with Cathy Garcia-Molina’s latest full-length rom-com.

The hit filmmaker usually works her “magic” on young-adult stars like John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo and Sarah Geronimo, but her signature “touch” still clicks with Sharon and Robin.

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Aside from the movie’s inherent plus points, what it has working uniquely in its favor is the fact that it’s the comeback pairing of its senior leads’ popular love team—16 long years later.

Naturally, their fans and some younger moviegoers want to see if their feisty team-up hasn’t lost its “wow! and pow!” sizzle and appeal.

The good news is that it hasn’t, as Sharon and Robin play a “golden” gal and guy who meet after many decades to inspiringly discover that age—and love—are indeed just numbers.

When they meet again, Sharon’s troubled marriage (to John Estrada), has ended, and she’s really focusing mainly on her 21-year-old daughter (Julia Barretto) and career—both of which are not going great guns.

For his part, Robin is a sailor who has remained single. He’s concentrated on making a lot of money to support his many “dependent” relatives and buy his mother a house and lot in an upscale subdivision—where Sharon “just happens” to be his next-door neighbor!

Naturally, he’s ecstatic to learn that the “love from a distance” of his life is now so temptingly, yearningly close at hand—but, Sharon gives him absolutely no encouragement!

It’s only when her life completely falls apart that she desperately reaches out—and he saves her from her self-destructive self.

Aside from its bracingly upbeat view of the viability of love in middle age, “Unexpectedly Yours” is a fun and meaningful viewing treat, because its director keeps its proceedings eventful and sometimes really funny and touching.

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Yes, the rom-com conventions are in obvious evidence, but the film works hard to go beyond them.

Best of all, Sharon and Robin do their darnedest to make their characters’ “delayed” romance believable, fun, felt and empathetic.

Yes, the nostalgia factor is there and works for them, but they don’t depend on it, and imbue their scenes together with bracing thespic energy and creative vitality.

On the debit side, some of the senior leads’ “for the fans” gambits are cloyingly predictable—but, this doesn’t significantly compromise their reunion starrer’s cumulative achievement.

We also wish that Sharon had lost more excess weight for this project, so their love scenes could have come off as more appropriately “loverly.” (Robin has absolutely no problem in this regard).

In addition, we wish that the movie’s plotting could have been less “expedient,” with too much gratuitous fuss being made of the leads’ big “class reunion.”

And Sharon is surrounded by too many distractingly “colorful” amigas, as usual, to make some of her scenes more eventful and idiosyncratic.

The movie’s biggest glitch, however, is the weak showing of its “junior” stellar couple, Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia—who often end up being unintentionally upstaged by Sharon and Robin.

They may be fresher and more youthfully photogenic, but they can’t hold a candle to the senior stars’ thespic street smarts and enjoyment of their scenes together!

How ironic that, in this flick, it’s the kids who are the relative fuddy-duddies and sticks-in-the-mud.

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TAGS: Joshua Garcia, Julia Barretto, Robin Padilla, Sharon Cuneta
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