Promiscuous Jen Evangelista (Mercedes Cabral) is kicked out from a Catholic school after getting caught having sex with the security guard. She transfers to a state university where she meets Karl Vladimir Lennon Villalobos (Edgar Allan Guzman) or “Intoy” for short, a typical university student whose standoffish demeanor and mysterious aura serve as enough of a trigger for her to pursue him despite his initial hesitance of her advances. It does not take long before they are frequenting the neighborhood motel. Things go crazy for the guy as he starts to develop feelings for the girl. Too bad for him, she does not want any commitment at all.
First stop: The casting department did a very good job. Unlike mainstream movies dominated by popular half-half actors, the leads here have very Filipino features, which makes it easier for you to relate to them and believe their story would really happen in real life. Guzman and Cabral both look like you would really encounter them anytime in a typical campus setting. This is not to say that they look plain or ordinary, or maybe that is my point exactly. I am lost for words. Anyway, both have their own charms that make them attractive to their respective markets. I guess what I am really trying to say is that their looks are more apt to the Filipino setting, as opposed to the many glammed up celebrities we have in mainstream cinema giving false notions that we are a nation of runway models. We are not.
Voice overs are annoying most of the time, but not here. Intoy is able to make his thoughts audible , making us understand his character more. Besides, is it not like that in real life? We have the propensity to say something but mean another thing. Here, that contrast is well presented. From time to time he also speaks to the camera directly to the audience. This gives the moviegoer a sense of involvement, an illusion that you are part of their universe as an observer who knows something that the other characters do not. Aside from this, cardboard diorama are also used to depict certain instances running in the main character’s head, creating a more imaginative world for the audience to see.
The movie makes use of various techniques to tell the story in a way that it would not bore the audience. However, what really makes it tolerable is the tongue-in-cheek presentation of topics that are mostly taboo in society, topics such as premarital sex and that kind of relationship which goes by many names like “Friends with Benefits,” “FuBu,” “It’s Complicated,” etc. The older generation might not get the humor of the film or get turned off by the “vulgar” showcase of flesh and the many sex scenes treated with direct nonchalance. On the contrary, members of the younger generation, who are involved in the kind of relationship being depicted here, would most likely see it as a documentary of their very own lives. What is a relationship? Where do you draw the line between lust and love? What is really going on inside a woman’s head? The premise of the film mainly revolves around these questions.
Perhaps because of budget restrictions, some scenes are a bit hard to watch because they are either too dark or grainy at times. This aside, the movie would most likely get praises for its non-conventional storytelling, its aloofness in discussing delicate issues, and solid acting from the two leads. Guzman won the Best Actor award at the Cinemalaya for this and based on his acting here it is safe to say that he deserved it. Some people say that Cabral as a rich girl needs more credibility, but given the quirkiness of her character, I would say that she does her best to give you the weirdness her character is known for, or as Intoy would like to say, “may sapi” (possessed).
Favor, please, anyone. Does this film have a soundtrack released in record bars? I like the “Sa Muling Pagtatagpo” song sung by a certain Daryl Leong. I want that on my phone’s hit list.
Last note: I do not get the ending but I like how open-ended and confusing it is. It pretty much summarizes the relationship of the two leads, which could be described as fleeting, like their stolen moments in that motel room. In the end, like the weird friend listening to galactic music would say, “just enjoy it while it lasts.”