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‘Quotable’ dialogue carried to excess

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“A SECRET AFFAIR.” Compromised by its negative characters.

A couple of film seasons ago, “No Other Woman” became a blockbuster and record-breaker due to its combination of sexy drama and “hot and spicy” dialogue that viewers gigglingly quoted as they left the cineplex. Due to the movie’s then unprecedented success, “quotable” dialogue became a trend that has lasted to this day.

Small wonder, therefore, that the recent film, “A Secret Affair,” again topbilling “No Other Woman’s” romantic tandem, Anne Curtis and Derek Ramsay, fairly bristles with much more of the same—sometimes taken to the extreme in terms of ferociously determined spiciness and über-quotability.

This time around, Anne and Derek have been going steady for only two months, but they love each other so much that he excitedly asks her to marry him. Caught up in the headily romantic moment (and the two-carat engagement ring he offers her looks pretty stunning, too!), Anne says yes with alacrity, and Derek is overjoyed.

On the rebound

Alas, the night before their wedding day, Anne gets a major attack of very cold feet—and chickens out! Crushed, Derek ends up on the rebound in the arms of the younger and hotter Andi Eigennman.

He doesn’t love her, but she’s a welcome distraction and comfort at this most bruised and vulnerable time for him, right after he’s been kicked in the crown jewels.

Later, of course, Anne decides to give their love another chance—but, Andi isn’t about to give her prize catch up without a cat fight!

This is where the movie’s barrage of “quotable” dialogue kicks in big time, as Derek’s two squeezes try to top each other’s bitching retorts and countersalvos, tit for rat-tat-tat!

Well, it’s all very verbally pungent and “witty,” but it’s really much too much and, oh, so improbable. Talk about getting too much of a good thing, this is it!

Even the movie’s plotting is too hyped-up and improbable to be taken seriously. It’s mostly done for effect, and empathy fly out of the window.

Nuel Naval’s film is also a downer in the key aspect of characterization, because its three leads are not very likable people: Anne steps all over her fiance’s feelings, Derek is a wimp, and Andi’s character is too sexually  voracious to be let loose on an unsuspecting public. With such warped protagonists inhabiting this production, whom is the poor viewer to feel for, and empathize with?

Also poorly limned are Anne’s coterie of amigas, who are even more off-putting than the movie’s leads. Thank goodness, the production does better with its second-lead players, especially the bitchy mothers portrayed by Jackielou Blanco and Jaclyn Jose. —But, even these dramatic divas are eventually done in by the “bitchy” dialogue they’re made to self-consciously intone, as well.

All told, therefore, “A Secret Affair” is a visually interesting flick that is quite unfortunately compromised by its negative characters, overly pungent dialogue, and general patina and “aftertaste” of excess and artifice!


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