Andi Eigenmann comes into her ownBy Rito P. Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Like its overachieving predecessor, “No Other Woman,” Nuel Naval’s “A Secret Affair” vivifies mainstream cinema’s disturbing penchant for scandalous behavior and infidelity-themed melodramas.
The former’s depiction of seemingly intelligent women who fight tooth and nail over a duplicitous beau may not sit well with self-respecting viewers—but, hey, the film gave lead actress Anne Curtis the Box Office Queen crown and a Famas Best Actress award, to boot, for a role in a movie that is as morally questionable as the gutter talk her character delivers with catty, bratty flair.
To be fair, Naval’s “Affair” is the better film, because it eschews predictability for a more cautionary conclusion—but, for the most part, it follows a familiar framework: Rafi (Curtis) returns to Anton (Derek Ramsay), the man she left at the altar after getting cold feet—who, in her absence, has been carrying on a “secret affair” with Sam (Andi Eigenmann).
On the rebound
Sam knows she’s getting Anton on the rebound, albeit temporarily, but she’ll do anything—even embarrass herself in front of her family and her coterie of gossip-loving, socialite amigas—to make her relationship with the Man with the Golden-Brown Pecs and Abs permanent.
The situation degenerates as soon as Rafi learns about her scheming competitor and decides not to give Anton up without a (cat)fight, armed with a movie season’s worth of protracted, overdone theatricality and vituperative zingers that impressionable viewers can post on Facebook!
Kitsch-rich and fraught with tedious clichés, the movie lurches between melodrama and comedy as its warring characters trade one-liners with scathing, scattershot hooks. As her predicament congests with increasing complexity, the enthusiastic Curtis works hard to make her lines hit their mark, but she lacks sufficient gravitas to draw genuine empathy. For his part, Ramsay has a harder row to hoe, because he can’t make heads and tails of his character’s indecision.
The fiery Eigenman comes into her own and steals the movie from under Curtis’ pretty nose. The 22-year-old actress is encumbered with her man-eating bitch-from-hell role, but she handles her easy-to-hate character with care, and imbues it with uncommon depth and sensitivity.
As a result, Andi slowly turns the tide to her favor and makes you wish for a happy ending for Sam—a misunderstood woman-child who deserves another shot at happiness. —Truly her Tita Cherie Gil’s worthy successor!
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