KathNiel’s ‘crazy, beautiful’ facets unravel in latest rom-com
There are a good number of fan-pandering moments in “Crazy Beautiful You,” the latest blockbuster starrer of Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo. More than the teen romance’s kilig-inducing progression, May Cruz-Alviar’s carefully calibrated rom-com benefits not only from KathNiel’s scorching chemistry, but also from the finely crafted mush surrounding its characters’ fractured relationships and jaded views on love, as their resentments and jagged-edged recriminations fester beneath the surface.
When rebellious but emotionally fragile Jackie (Bernardo) grudgingly agrees to accompany her estranged mom, Leah (Lorna Tolentino, in fine thespic form here), on her weeklong medical mission to an Aeta village in the hills of Pinatubo in Tarukan, Tarlac, it becomes Kiko’s (Padilla) job to keep the testy teenage beauty safe—and make her toe the line!
But, when he realizes there’s more to Jackie than her aversion to authority, Kiko finds himself falling for the troubled 19-year-old, who seems to reciprocate his feelings—when she isn’t stuffing his pocket with spiders or making him chase her around!
Enter Kiko’s affluent half-brother, Marcus (Iñigo Pascual), who wants Jackie just as badly. —Need we guess whom she ends up with?
The quick-paced and gorgeously photographed film introduces a sexier and more ravishing Kathryn, who works hard to keep her feistier-than-usual characterization on an even keel.
As she imbues a measure of maturity to her edgy portrayal, she succeeds for the most part, but has to work on the clarity and delivery of her lines—nothing that appropriate vocal exercises can’t fix.
The risk to do away with pretty Kathryn’s usually tweetums and saccharine projection pays off, and her work here provides ample proof that her open-minded approach bodes well for her future as a committed actress.
Surprisingly, Daniel does even better, because the role fits him to a T—he doesn’t have to “create” a character he isn’t familiar with. In fact, the film ends up showcasing Padilla’s sensitive side, especially in his unforced but heartfelt confrontations with his distant father (Gabby Concepcion), half-brother (Pascual, who’s no slouch at acting) and negligent mother (Assunta de Rossi, who looks too youthful for the role). He conveys his bottled-up yearning for his parents’ love and affection with affecting clarity.
Kathryn’s refreshing presence and DJ’s winking portrayal (and that toothsome grin, for his swooning fans) aren’t the film’s only attractions: It’s easy to get invested in the love story they breathe life into, because the breathtaking views and stunning landscapes in the backdrop are conducive to their characters’ disarming romance.
The movie gets off to a shaky start, but finds its footing soon enough. Moreover, its “simple” but intimate stories about relationships lend dramatic weight to and complement the production’s deliberate rom-com fizz.
While some side stories are rushed for the film’s requisite Happily Ever After finale, they’re nevertheless staged with conviction and credible dramatic relish—as the movie drives its inspiring message about second chances right into viewers’ hearts!
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