Bea saves our viewing day
YOU CAN’T watch Dan Villegas’ underwhelming “How To Be Yours,” topbilled by Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson, and not feel like you’ve already seen its story in another rom-com.
The film that immediately comes to mind is “A Second Chance,” ironically another Bea starrer, about a talented woman (Alonzo) who’s torn between a promising career and an underachieving beau (John Lloyd Cruz).
You could use the same thumbnail synopsis for Bea’s latest movie, and interchange the characters portrayed by John Lloyd and Gerald—and you wouldn’t be wrong.
True, Villegas delivers a cleverly staged epilogue that sets its perfunctorily serendipitous Happily Ever After ending apart from other rom-coms—but, clever finales don’t a memorable romantic film make.
This time, Bea plays hot-to-trot chef-on-the-rise Anj Mendoza who falls for Niño San Vicente (Anderson), whose dreams are loftier than his ability to realize them. Anj rises from the ranks, while Niño increasingly wallows in his insecurities and self-doubt.
Is their love for each other strong enough to see them through their differences?
Bea and Gerald are made to intone terms of endearment that are initially amusing—but, upon repeated use (and the mawkish way they’re delivered), quickly overstay their welcome.
Long in the tooth
Besides, they’re already too long in the tooth to be spewing hugot and pa-kwela lines that are more cringe-inducing than charming.
And it doesn’t help that the film takes its time to move from one section of its story to another. It would have been enough to depict Anj and Niño’s love story, forged over coffee and social media shout-outs, without the off-putting, fan-pandering excesses.
The cloying schmaltz would’ve been easier to take had Bea and Gerald been gifted with the kind of sexual tension that Bea effortlessly generated every time she was with John Lloyd—or the palpable chemistry that once made sparks fly between Gerald and Sarah Geronimo.
In the case of Bea and Gerald’s tandem, the “razzle” that makes effective love teams sizzle and dazzle is hardly there.
In fact, the romantic tension that the pair sorely lacks is more evident in Bea’s scenes with Bernard Palanca, who turns in a spot-on portrayal as top (and very tough) chef Pocholo, Anj’s no-nonsense mentor.
The film makes valid observations about the difficulties of staying in a relationship weighed down by different and even contradictory priorities.
Unfortunately, while Bea exquisitely mines the struggle and irony inherent in her character’s complex balancing act and her frustrations over missed opportunities, Gerald barely scratches the surface in his limited characterization—albeit, not for lack of trying.
The juggling act that Bea—her generation’s finest actress—had to accomplish serves as a showcase for her formidable thespic gifts.
With the textured portrayal that she limns to insightful perfection here, she proves that a fine actress can rise above the limitations of a flawed film!
If only for Bea’s performance, the movie demands to be seen.
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