Biggest winner and thespic beneficiary
Our recent review of “The Achy Breaky Hearts” purposely refrained from going into detail on its lead players’ portrayals, because we wanted to focus on that specific factor in this follow-up piece:
We felt the need for a two-part view, because the three leads, Jodi Sta. Maria, Richard Yap and Ian Veneracion, all evinced a progression in their performance as actors in Antoinette Jadaone’s film.
Let’s start with Richard: Ever since he was belatedly discovered and showcased as an actor on ABS-CBN’s “My Binondo Girl,” he was already “mature” in projection. He hewed close to the same image as the widower in “Be Careful with My Heart.”
Even in his other “villainous” outing in “Ang Probinsyano,” he’s projected himself to be “on the wrong side of 40!”
In his new starrer, however, Richard is a very pleasant surprise, because he’s successfully restyled and “youthened” his image, and can now come across as a legit romantic leading man.
Our fear before was that the still hunky Ian would totally upstage him, but Richard now looks so good that he gives as well as he takes in his leading-man “duel” with Ian.
Unfortunately, Richard isn’t given a good enough opportunity to “prove” his worth as an actor. Even his “big” scene, in which he “gives way” to Ian and goes back to the United States, is too weakly and obligingly “mapagparaya” to give him a strong grand exit.”
We hope that he will make it a point to take this all-important next step in a follow-up film starrer, or else his impressive change of image shall have been for naught.
What about Ian? He’s given more to thespically grapple with in this production—so, all told, he comes off better.
His problem on point of character arc and depth is his character’s being too weak-willed to decisively “move on” and seize his new chance at love, precisely because it’s on the rebound.
It would also help if Ian could rely less on his still “crushable looks,” which do get in the way of his thespic progression.
Next film around, Ian should make it a point to not play a dishy hunk, and instead opt for a deeper and more contradictory screen persona, along the lines of John Lloyd Cruz’s hugely productive antihunk portrayal in “Honor Thy Father.”
The biggest winner and thespic beneficiary in “The Achy Breaky Hearts” is its female protagonist, Jodi Sta. Maria.
She should thank her lucky cinematic stars that she’s been given a big bright stellar showcase like this where she’s being “partnered” by two standout screen consorts.
Even better, she’s good and ready to take full advantage of the extraordinary stellar opportunity, having honed her abilities in comedy, romance and drama, which she puts to good, versatile use.
Jodi does most things right in this special showcase, but it would have been better if she had chosen to use a speaking voice that wasn’t quite so thin and “chirpily young.”
She also looks a mite too thin on-cam, so some more pounds next time would make her screen projections more maturely womanly and “delish.”