2012 (MALAYA)
By MARIO E. BAUTISTA - GONE are the days when local film heroines are pristine pure and lily white. Times have really changed and we don’t believe it’s for the better.

Now, we have women like Anne Curtis in "No Other Woman" and Lovi Poe and Carla Abellana in "My Neighbor’s Wife" who don’t mind being mistresses or being unfaithful. In "Unofficially Yours," Angel Locsin is an easy lay who hops into bed with John Lloyd Cruz on their first meeting in Boracay and then goes on sharing his bed in Manila without any formal commitment.

We don’t mind if we see women like this in Hollywood films like "Friends with Benefits" and "No Strings Attached." We always say they have a different kind of culture. Call us a prude but we still feel uncomfortable when we see such women in local films. We’ve been an active volunteer in a Christian family ministry for two decades now and we’ve confirmed that couples who indulge in premarital sex are the ones most suspicious about their partners indulging in extra-marital sex. They often have big trust and fidelity issues.

John Lloyd Cruz is Mackie, a dentist who has a one-night stand on the beach with Angel as Ces. He wakes up the next morning and she’s gone. He decides to change jobs and applies as a writer at Manila Bulletin. It so happened that Ces is a senior writer there and she’s assigned to train him. They go on with their being FB (fuck buddies). Mackie quickie falls for her. He wants a more serious relationship but she resists it. That’s the basic conflict in the story. But you know that eventually, she’ll also fall in love with him and they’ll have a happy ending. How they get there is what the movie is all about it. And it’s not really much.

The movie starts rather well but our interest quickly wanes as the journey of the two lovers is not credibly developed. In the end, when Ces finally reveals why she’s scared to love anew, we’re only half interested. Angel is made to deliver a long kilometric aria to explain her side and it’s not very well put together. It turns out her past boyfriend suddenly dumped her in Cebu after she was incapacitated by an accident. A little later, John Lloyd is interviewing the guilty guy (Patrick Garcia in a thankless cameo role) and he pounces on him. (For which he was suspended for only one week. He deserves to be sacked no less!)

The incidents are truly too contrived, just to forward the story. In another scene, they’re talking about Mackie’s ex and guess who’d walk in by chance, the ex they’re talking about, played by DJ Andi Manzano. It’s also not credible that just because a dentist wants to be a writer, he’d be hired that easily and that quickly by a major newspaper without even taking the necessary tests or being interviewed. Most applicants go through a long process before they’re employed, you know.

Angel as Ces tries her best to project a very liberated character. In their love scenes, she’s even the more aggressive partner. But the bed scenes are really quite tame despite earlier hype that this is her and John Lloyd’s most daring film so far. This is understandable since they can’t afford to be really sexy. Otherwise, SM Cinemas would ban them from being shown in their theaters and they’ll lose a big chunk of their audience.

It’s actually John Lloyd who shows more skin in this movie compared to his past ones. And we should commend him for being a good sport since we know he’s not buff like other lead actors today who regularly go to the gym to get a more muscular physique with abs. In the movie, John Lloyd is actually the slimmest member of their family compared to his dad (Edgar Mortiz) and sisters (played by the three daughters of William Martinez who are all obese).

If anyone would dare laugh at his shapeless torso, no one could question John Lloyd’s capabilities as an actor. He not only has a very appealing, endearing screen presence but he is so good even in small scenes where all he does is make "pakwela." In the end, the movie becomes a sing-along with the two leads using their own faltering voices in crooning what could very well be the film’s OPM theme song. We don’t know how this will sit with most viewers. Maybe John Lloyd fans will find it cute, but Lea Salonga will have another official reason to squawk.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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