Going beyond merely diverting rom-com tactics
WE WENT out of our way to boost the new film, “The Achy Breaky Hearts,” before it opened, because it features “more mature” characters and their more grown-up romantic “issues.” But, now that the movie has started its run, it’s time to take the next step, and evaluate how well it has achieved its worthy intent:
The film has a slow start, with extended scenes of amigas exchanging pithy “hugot” lines about love gone sour and faithless, and generally female “victims” having to pick up the pieces.
The lines may have been “quotable,” but all that talk and precious little action is not the way for a motion picture to get things going.
Eventually, however, the movie’s storytelling did pick up speed and action, and we learned that the female lead character played by Jodi Sta. Maria was having a hard time “moving on” after her long affair with Richard Yap’s character.
Imagine her consternation, therefore, to bump into him and learn that he wanted to woo her again!
The plot further thickened when Jodi also found herself flirting with another, even more handsome hunk (Ian Veneracion). Unfortunately, he was having his own “moving on” problems with his sexy ex-girlfriend, played by Sarah Lahbati, so where did that leave all of them?
Back to bitter love lessons not being learned—and suffering all over again!
That’s the entertaining film’s sad and even bitterly adult insight for viewers to mull over: That lessons must be learned and applied, before the fond fantasy of happiness the second or third time around can finally become a reality for thick-skulled and mushy-hearted people like—us?
That’s definitely an adult lesson worth learning, so Antoinette Jadaone’s film should be credited for bluntly imparting it. Trouble is, the way that the rom-com develops is too reliant on verbal flourishes, so there’s a passive and unfocused pall that settles over the production, and dulls its otherwise bright and blithe progression.
Another inhibiting factor is the fact that the movie feels more like a TV sitcom-romantic drama than a complicating and multi-layered featured film.
On the other hand, the production should be cited for coming up with striking thespic “moments” that enable its actors to go beyond merely diverting tactics and reveal what they’re really capable of as thespians.
For Jodi, one of those moments comes right after her heart has been broken again and she orders herself to dance and not cry, which she “bravely” does until—her big and deeply felt breakdown.
Unfortunately, those sharp and deep highlights are eventually blunted by the movie’s “need” to end up as a “feel-good” viewing experience. So, after maturely imparting a number of hard-knocks insights, the film has to splice in an “epilogue” that has Jodi being given a slap-happily implausible chance to luxuriate in her two beaus loving adoration.
That’s great for the determined dreamers and cockeyed optimists out there, but mature realists looking to learn from sad experience are—back to square one!