Jameson-Janella tandem buzzes with youthful brio
It’s hard to take your eyes off “So Connected,” Jason Paul Laxamana’s quirkily out-of-the-box rom-com, for much of its running time because, unlike “My Fairy Tail Love Story,” the film doesn’t rely on fleeting quick fixes and knee-jerk kookiness to tell an entertaining tale about how millennials seek and forge meaningful connections with one another in the increasingly wired world they inhabit.
As it seeks to understand its characters’ generational idiosyncrasies, the production banks on a tandem that plays well to the strengths of its affable partners—from the fresh-faced, boy-next-door appeal of Jameson Blake, to the frail and fragile heart that hides behind Janella Salvador’s bratty artifice.
With clever narrative ploys and a pace that buzzes with youthful brio, “So Connected” proficiently captures the chaotic but vibrant milieu that colors Karter (Jameson) and Trisha’s (Janella) disparate realities.
Their paths inevitably cross when Trisha ends up buying the stolen cell phone of Karter, who must retrieve his vain girlfriend’s photos in it—or risk losing her for good.
What Karter doesn’t count on is falling for the pretty but lonely waitress who has just had her heart broken. They later realize that there’s more to compatibility than the “manufactured” connection established by details culled from “the cloud.”
Laxamana, whose yarn-spinning skills consistently give his productions’ themes and ideas a fresh spin and an invigorating boost, finds inventive ways to make his movie relatable and comprehensible, even to tech-challenged seniors and geriatrics.
His ideas are served well by Jameson and Janella’s winsome portrayals and unforced, tension-triggering chemistry, which were “of limited supply” in Janella’s sterile and puerile partnership with the perpetually phlegmatic Elmo Magalona.
But, as cleverly as “So Connected” plays out the budding romance that blossoms between Karter and Trisha, it occasionally “disconnects,” especially when it fails to find a satisfactory ending worthy of its hit-the-ground-running start.
The film eventually succumbs to a perfunctory finale that is as awkwardly realized as Janella’s improvised singing sequences in “My Fairy Tail Love Story.”
The lushly photographed movie isn’t just about sugar and spice and everything nice—after all, there are “relevant” reasons why Karter and Trisha had to “go offline” for three years.
It offers insightful lessons about the downside of social media, although some of them sound more like proselytizing lectures about bullying and the “compromised” believability of the online content netizens consume on a regular basis.
If you can let the hit-and-miss movie’s familiar denouement slide, it’s hard not to get swept off your feet by the romantic sparks that frothily fly when Jameson and Janella are together onscreen. They are, to put it simply, a sight for sore eyes.
If you’re in dire need of uplifting things to make you smile, a heartwarming, feel-good story is greatly appreciated.
But, watching “So Connected” is like placing or receiving calls in the Philippines: Sometimes, the signal you get is crystal clear, other times it’s, well, “choppy.”
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