The Achy Break Hearts tells the story of Chinggay (Jodi Sta. Maria), a thirty-something lady bemoaning her apparent inability to settle down with a guy. It also doesn’t help that her other relatives judge and ridicule her for it (based on the laughs in the theater, a relatable experience I guess). After a seven-year dry spell, she suddenly gets attention from two strapping beaus: Ryan (Ian Veneracion), her work client who just came from a relationship and Frank (Richard Yap), her long-time ex-boyfriend who cheated on her seven years ago. Will she choose the broken guy? or the guy who broke her heart?
I had low expectations from the movie given the template romcom premise and that the three main cast members were part of Jadaone’s All You Need Is Pag-Ibig– the director’s weakest film in my book. But since it’s a Jadaone film, I had to watch it. I cannot turn away from the director that shined the spotlight on Lilia Cuntapay and Brgy. Captain Boy English.
The film did not disappoint. It had the Tonette Tropes (see below) that I always welcome; but most especially, it had a strong message to say. Given the popularity of her films, Jadaone has the right platform and connection with her audience to impart wisdom on society’s unfair expectation from Filipinas since time immemorial. Moreover, a round message such as what TABH has doesn’t have a place in a square genre like the romcom. The romcom is an archaic genre of film. Its roots can be traced back to old Disney fairy tales wherein the female protagonist is swept by her prince to live happily ever after. A message like this doesn’t have a place in a romcom film but somehow, Jadaone managed to fit it in.
And by managed to fit it in, I honestly meant that I don’t know how it got there. The third act was messy especially when the characters started their exposition on their understanding of what love is. A character early in the movie professed adamantly that people should fight for their love, but would later leave this person’s loved one because that’s how this character understands “fighting for your love”. I’m not sure how many mental flips you have to do to land that logic but “flight” is the direct opposite response of “fight”.
But even with that muddled end game, overall, it was still a solid romcom with a strong statement. I still have to give props for that.
SHOUT OUTS, CALL OUTS AND WATCH OUTS:
Shout out to Jodi Sta. Maria for really carrying the movie. She was evidently working on a different level. You know in wrestling when good established wrestlers like Chris Jericho have to carry and eventually lose in matches against new wrestlers to make the newbies look good (see jobbing)? That was basically Jodi Sta. Maria in this film. She had to work double, sometimes tripletime in scenes to make her two stiff beaus look good.
Shout out to the condom jokes scene! I couldn’t believe we have this on a mainstream film.
Watch out for the role of onions in the movie
Are onions also a metaphor for something? I’m not sure
Shout out the original Beauty Gonzalez (Denise Joaquin) and the new Beauty Gonzales (Beauty Gonzalez) in one film!
Shout out to the Donna Cruz reference
Shout out to the OTWOL easter egg. I had to watch the Most Approved Kiss video on YouTube to confirm this.
Use of animation to intro a film or episode: Not really animation but used toys and dolls for the intro. I’m not sure how you call this style but it’s similar to Digital5’s Dramalala style.
Women’s Issue Tackled: Society’s judgement towards relatively old single ladies (also had a Single Ladies reference in the movie)
Dan Villegas/Tonette Jadaone Stable of Actors Spotting: Ruby Ruiz (Ekstra, OTWOL), Phi Palmos (Always Be My Maybe, OTWOL),
Sponsor Spotting: Anlene, Victoria Court, Jollibee and Jollibee Spaghetti, Primera Light Brandy, Flanax
Most abrupt endorsement goes to Flanax, a sudden cut to the scene and wasn’t clear who was the person that needed Flanax
Runner-up award goes to Jollibee Spaghetti. Chinggay suddenly shared a fond moment with Jollibee Spaghetti
Dan Villegas/Tonette Jadaone 80s – 90s Song Soundtrack: Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko by Bodjie Dasig
Additional music: Sasakyan Kita by Gladys and The Boxers, One More Chance by Piolo Pascual (this song sucked so bad that Erik Santos’ I’ll Never Go became One More Chance the film’s theme song)
The Joem Bascon Award for Surprise Appearance In The Last 5 minutes Of The Movie: Michael Flores as the Singles For Christ guy of Desiree Del Valle and Bernard Palanca as Denise Joaquin’s baby papa.
So my first foray into MMFF 2015 involved two Tonette Jadaone-associated romcoms. All You Need Is Pag-ibig was written and directed by Jadaone while she was credited for an additional screenplay writer role for Walang Forever.
This write-up isn’t strictly a film review. Think of this as an organized version of my thoughts and musings while I was watching each show. Instead of livetweeting everything, I thought to just put them here.
After the success of last year’s English Only, Please, director Dan Villegas teamed up with Jennylyn Mercado for another off-beat romcom with Jericho Rosales as the new male lead. Jennylyn plays Mia Nolasco, a successful screenwriter having a hard time getting inspiration for her newest movie. Jericho plays as Ethan, Mia’s ex who suddenly returns.
Jennylyn’s proving herself to be the queen of Filipino romcoms. She has effortless chemistry with the leading men they pair her with
I can’t picture JM De Guzman in the role of Ethan. It felt like it was tailored for Jericho Rosales
Jerald Napoles stealing scenes again just like in English Only, Please. Give this guy his own indie comedy movie!
Weird story beats, a sudden dive in the last fifteen minutes of the film
There was a questionable decision at the end that didn’t make sense for me. Para lang magka-confrontation scene?
Mia Nolasco’s films ranked:
The Liza Dino – Sid Lucero one (highly efficient acting from Sid Lucero. Did not waste any time to display his acting chops)
The last film at the end of the movie (it’s spoilery if I divulge but these non-drama artists were able to carry this heavy scene)
The Melai Cantiveros – Jason Francisco one (props for using Labidabs)
The Sofia Andres – Julian Estrada one (showed some chemistry)
The one with Michelle Vito (sorry, I’m not familiar with the guy)
Khalil Ramos – Jane Oineza one (lacked chemistry, looked like a toothpaste commercial)
and The Payong One (sorry! not familiar with both talents)
SPECIAL MENTION: That “Ikaw Na, Beh” poster at the movie company office
Tonette Jadaone/Dan Villegas cast shoutouts: Jerald Napoles, Cai Cortez, Quark Henares, Pepe Herrera, Sofia Andres, Nico Antonio
ALL YOU NEED IS PAG-IBIG
Written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone, All You Need Is Pag-Ibig is a Love Actually-esque romantic movie that tries to show the different kinds of love present in the world through the lives of some interconnected people.
Tonette Jadaone is the J.J. Abrams of the Philippines when it comes to fitting talents with characters. Amazing how these talents were able to show a different side of their acting ability (i.e. Lilia Cuntapay as the lead in Six Degrees, Angelica Panganiban as a likable lead and JM De Guzman’s return to form in That Thing Called Tadhana)
Kris Aquino in this movie is the Kris Aquino we expect and dream her to be in real life–a bitter, alcoholic monster
Jadaone was able to make me like Kris Aquino!
PLEASE MAKE ANOTHER MONSTER KRIS AQUINO MOVIE PLEASE??
With that haircut, not sure if Jodi Santamaria or Tuesday Vargas
The Ian-Jodie storyline’s funnier if you replace Jodi with Tuesday Vargas
There were too many stories in this film to fit two hours.
So much so that the flow of the movie was uneven. More time was given for the rising action that there was little time to properly tie everything up
Nova Villa – Ronaldo Valdez (this kind of story and love isn’t explored enough in local cinema)
Ian-Jodie (standard romcom plot but the progression and use of romantic gestures were evenly paced)
Kris Aquino (remove Derek Ramsey, that just didn’t make any sense at all. Just Kris Aquino being mean and bitter is the stuff dreams are made of)
Pokwang (this had potential. Medyo cop out ang settle for tita love after having the other characters chase for who they loved)
Maricar-Derek (What happened? Why was Maricar so chill with the break up?)
Kim-Xian (could have been more relevant with the choices you have and all pero I don’t get why Kim got punished for following Xian’s suggestion of faking everything)
Bimby-Kim (Mame lang na may pelikula si Bimby, also lacked development)
That singalong to Rizal Underground’s “Bilanggo” inside the car scene of Jodi and Ian was PERFECT. Complete with air karaoke, air guitar and awkward daddy dance moves.
I really felt that the original script was the Jodi-Ian storyline. Their relationship was the anchor for all the other relationships after all. I’d like to think that they had to revise the script since Kris Aquino still didn’t have a MMFF movie and they needed to KimXi to add the token love team into a Star Cinema movie.
So much exposition/general proclamations about love. I guess that’s just how Filipinos really discuss love
Tonetteism: Destination of the movie: Coron
Biggest drop in performance: Derek Ramsey. From Best Actor of MMFF 2014 to talking naked piece of meat (subject for objectification lang)
Pro-tip: The Best Actor-worthy performance is in another movie. You won’t see it here.
Tonetteism: female characters in pain or seeking acceptance (i.e. Lilia Cuntapay in Six Degrees, Toni Gonzaga in You’re My Boss, Angelica Panganiban in That Thing Called Tadhana, etc.)
Tonetteism: using animations to illustrate central theme of the movie (i.e. relationship tree in Six Degrees, the arrow and the heart thing in That Thing Called Tadhana and now this one)
When did they finish shooting this? I saw red Starbucks cups already.
The animated scene didn’t do it for me. I thought they had another one at the end of the story to tie things up
It deeply saddened me when people in the cinema laughed at Nova Villa’s embarrassing scene. Yes, you can laugh at it because it was a classic case of miscommunication in marriage (we also had the same thing in A Second Chance). But if you think about it, it’s sad to see an elderly woman go to extreme lengths just so she could still feel wanted by her husband. Neglect at that age is a serious matter.