Match made in rom-com heaven
Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo portray exes at war in Cathy Garcia-Molina’s “The Hows of Us,” a silly romantic “dramedy” that banks largely on its lead actors’ potent chemistry and sublimely maturing thespic chops.
Singer-songwriter Primo (Daniel) and premed student George (Kathryn) seem like a match made in rom-com heaven, but they eventually call it quits five years after realizing that passion isn’t enough to put food on the table or pay the bills.
Two years later, just as they begin to pick up the pieces of their tattered lives, their paths cross again—to fight over the house where they used to live!
For George, selling the property isn’t just an opportunity to finally find closure for their failed romance—she needs the money as much for her medical studies as for the treatment of her brother’s degenerative eye condition.
But, there’s more to Primo’s stubborn protestations than meets the eye. He intends to prove to George that it was wrong to give up on him. More than that, he wants to make things right to win her back.
Unfortunately, George doesn’t want blind love and affection to weigh down her newfound strength and conviction to dream again. So, she tries her best not to let Primo’s winking charm and naughty flirtations get the better of her.
But, when a medical emergency strikes her household, George is forced to make a Solomonic choice that could potentially make her haplessly unhappy.
The galit-bati situation plays out like protracted foreplay for the star-crossed lovers, handled with flair and crowd-pleasing panache by Molina.
It’s a thoughtfully staged, carefully calibrated “conflict” that keeps viewers amused and entertained, made even more appealing by George and Primo’s “humanizing” relationships with the people around them.
“The Hows of Us” hits the ground running, but it considerably slows down when Primo and his problematic lady love arrive in postcard-pretty Amsterdam, where the narrative progression almost grounds to a halt as the story takes a detour and eases into a more easygoing, “touristy” pace.
That doesn’t make Daniel and Kathryn’s portrayals any less satisfying. Molina puts her attractive actors through their thespic paces.
Kathryn is made to act up a storm—and she pretty much lives up to viewers’ heightened expectations of her growth as a maturing performer.
But, while Kathryn sassily sizzles in her confrontation scenes with her coactors, it’s Daniel who delightfully dazzles in almost-wordless dialogue that “expresses” a plethora of powerful but complementary emotions. Less is more, indeed.
We’re also happy to see Odette Khan, who was memorable in last year’s “Bar Boys,” in yet another role that makes clever use of her seemingly grumpy but kindhearted screen persona.
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