August 25, 2014
When I saw the poster of "Somebody to Love", it did not immediately make me want to watch it. The title is so ordinary and nondescript. I'm sure there have been many films with that unimaginative title before. There are many young attractive actors in the cast like the smorgasbord movies of Regal Films (incidentally also the production company of this film) back in the day, which, though popular, were mostly of mediocre cinematic value. However, when I learned that this film was rated A by the Film Evaluation Board, I got curious about it.
Mrs. Valderrama (Jaclyn Jose) once left her husband and two children. Her barren daughter Sophie (Maricar Reyes) is now trapped in an unhappy marriage with Daniel (David Chua), who is philandering with beauty queen Tara (Nathalie Hart). Her son Tristan (Mateo Guidicelli) is now the young CEO of a real estate company.
Tristan has a "friends with benefits" relationship with Valeria (Isabelle Daza) for more than five years. Valeria is the good friend of narcissistic TV hostess Margo Castro (Iza Calzado) whose career seems to be on the rocks. Margo goes to great lengths to gain public attention, including a surprise engagement to triathlete Rainier (Alex Castro).
Margo vents her frustrations on her harassed personal staff members: Karen (Cai Cortez), Winston (Vincent de Jesus) and Amelie (Ella Cruz). Amelie is being ignored by her personal trainer boyfriend Jayson (Albee Casino), who is busy with his matron clients. Winston is having trouble with his boyfriend Yves (Manuel Chua), on whom Amelie's friend Chloe (Kiray Celis) has a big crush on.
Tristan hired the services of the ad agency where Sabrina (Carla Abellana) works as an executive. Sabrina has a long-term BFF relationship with Nick (Jason Abalos), who will soon be leaving for the States before he can make an important confession.
Did you get all that? It's okay, despite all of these inter-connected story lines, writer and director Jose Javier Reyes manages to keep the various threads distinct in their interweaving. We have all seen these problems before: infidelity, non-commitment, homosexuality, missed opportunities, people getting together and coming apart. But this is one film that tackles all of that with a rich dose of sassy sense of humor, without sidestepping the seriousness of the topics tackled.
In the dramatic parts, the standout performances would be those of Carla Abellana and Jason Abalos. The scene of Sabrina and Nick over croughnuts was impressive for saying so much in its simplicity. In that scene where Nick walks in while Tristan was bringing Sabrina to her car, the deep pain Abalos showed in his tearful eyes was remarkable. Jaclyn Jose was so elegant in her dinner scene with Maricar Reyes.
In contrast, the supposedly intense confrontation scene of Sophie and Daniel was marred by the stiff, self-conscious acting of David Chua. Isabelle Daza was also underacting to a fault. She seemed to be sleepwalking through her role most of the time.
In the comedic parts, Iza Calzado really went to town with her flamboyant role, obviously inspired by real-life TV divas. She delivered all of those hilarious one-liners of hers so naturally, she's hilarious. Her character Margo was so maddeningly haughty that Karen's big slapping scene with her was wish-fulfillment for all of us. As expected, Kiray Celis gave her all as a deluded homely woman who thinks her "beauty" can convert a gay man straight. Her expressively funny face can do it all.
Overall, this film was an entertaining watch. It is by mainstream company with mainstream actors, yet it had a raw indie vibe running through it which I appreciated. We may have seen these stories all told in various ways before, but the inventive manner in which they were woven together here with its current, hip, witty and smart script is well worth a look-see. 6/10.