Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Review of A GIRL + A GUY: Carnal and Candid

June 23, 2021

Fiona Orozco (Alexa Miro) wanted to be a filmmaker, so she worked in a film production outfit under her bosses (Roeder Camanag and Donna Cariaga). While she was recovering from a bad breakup with her boyfriend Gio (Rosh Barman), Fiona casually hooked up with random strangers she met on vacation, or experiment with partners picked via dating apps.

Raf Tesoro (Rob Gomez) wanted to be a graphic artist, and was meanwhile working in an ad agency of his mother's friend (Marina Benipayo). Since he was also fresh from a breakup from his girlfriend Trixie (Sarah Holmes), it did not take too long for the charming Raf to attract and hook up with the other single ladies in his office. 

Something that surprised me very much with the promotional campaign of this film was its focus on the sex scenes, how the young cast were more than willing to shed their clothes. This certainly did not sound like the proper hype for the latest film of a respected director like Erik Matti who had acclaimed films under his belt, like "On the Job" (2012), "Honor Thy Father" (2015) and "Buy Bust" (2018). But then again, these were unknown actors in the lead.

Those who did watch it for the nude scenes will not be disappointed, as the attractive cast did show off a lot of skin, as well as other body parts not usually seen in mainstream local movies, while simulating sexual encounters. Matti surely could have done without these scenes with full frontal exposure, which were not entirely necessary for the story. Perhaps they were there more for the shock value so people would talk about the film, for the publicity. 

In this film, writer-director Erik Matti posited that in Gen Z, the mantra is now "sex precedes intimacy" -- an idea totally scandalous for the parents in Gen X'ers. Throughout this film, Matti did not shirk in showing how easily these young people have sex so casually it seems, even before knowing each other well. However, Matti never really delved into the deeper aspects of Gen Z beyond sex. Surely that sexual overdrive is not unique to their generation alone.

The two lead actors Alexa Miro and Rob Gomez had strong screen presence and have a future as serious actors. Despite what the title says, Fiona and Raf hooked up sexually with a number of different partners throughout the film respectively except each other, which was rather ironic. Their first scene together happened already midway in the film when Raf gatecrashed Fiona's birthday party and they had a profound conversation as strangers. This was their best scene together, and the best scene of the whole film for me.

Matti showed how these impatient 20-somethings felt that they wanted to "grab life by the balls" as much as they could. So if things were not happening exactly as they envisioned, they will wish that the world to stop revolving so fast so they can catch up. When elders try to advise them about being more perseverant, they will just feel that they are being talked down to as if they were kids, and resent it all. Watching this film as a protective Gen X parent of sheltered Gen Z children, I dread the day they move out to face in the "real" world of now. 5/10. 

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