Monday, October 3, 2011

No Other Woman

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Liberated resort heiress Cara Zalderiaga (Anne Curtis) believes that a fling without any emotional attachment is the way to go. Her latest prospect is married furniture salesman Ram Escaler (Derek Ramsay) who easily falls into her trap after some flirting and sand rolling at the beach. Wife Sharmaine (Cristine Reyes) learns about the two’s “no strings attached” affair and decides to play along, even inviting her husband’s “mistress” to their home for a dinner cum indirect confrontation. So now, the typical questions for movies involving home-wreckers: Who ends up with whom? Who dies? How many sex scenes are there?

Sorry to disappoint you but there really is nothing to spoil. If you have seen some of Star Cinema’s “kabit” movies, yo would know how the trend works. Do not expect anything new from this movie. In fact, it shares many similarities with A Love Story in terms of plot development, except that that movie had some sort of advantage because of the “guess-the-mistress” gimmick in the trailer. Here, everything is revealed to you at once: Ramsay is the husband; Reyes, the wife; and Curtis is the mistress, regardless how many times she claims that she is not one. The two women exchange playful banters of soap opera proportions, engage in a bikini showdown, and eventually end up on the floor in a catfight with a lot of scratching, hair-pulling, and a litany of “Ang landi mo! Ang landi mo! Ang landi mo!” as the husband watches helplessly in the background.

To add to the fun, there is Carmi Martin who plays the role of Sharmaine’s nouveau rich family’s matriarch. You can count her limited scenes with your fingers but she gets all the applause every time with her lines. Perhaps, you have already heard some of them in the trailer. She ends the “putang mayaman - putang mahirap” line with: “Pare-parehong puta lang yun! Yung mayaman original ang Hermes. Yung mahirap bumili sa Greenhills!” Direct to the point and delivered with much conviction, these lines would most likely set this movie apart from the other mistress movies out there. However, there are so many in here that everything just starts to sound gimmicky.

At first I was to say that this is Anne Curtis’ movie, not Derek’s nor Cristine’s, but saying that would be unfair to the other leading lady. I guess it is the role that is unpopular for some people and not Miss Reyes herself. The role requires her to be the immaculate wife, prim and proper. Maybe people just find that hard to believe because we often witness how the actress gets into tactless squabbles online via her Twitter account. To be fair, she does play the role convincingly, if you throw all your preconceived notions about her out of the window. I believe she is a versatile actress, one of the few from Starstruck who can act. If the roles were reversed and she got the role of the mistress, she could have still nailed it with a few diction classes and the right stylist. I like how she uses her eyes in this movie, by the way. I have never seen such powerful stares that just pierce you since Gong Li in Curse of the Golden Flower.

Anne Curtis does not have any bad angles. Any guy who gets pestered by such a stunning woman would repeatedly succumb to temptation. Heck, even gay guys who want to look like Anne Curtis would probably date Anne Curtis. She might be found lacking in some areas that other women go to surgery for, but despite that, her allure is different. She exudes class even when playing the role of an “immoral” woman. Of course she nails the role. The problem with this is that she has already polished her acting repertoire to perfection when it comes to woman-of-the-world roles. It would not hurt her to try other roles, which she is already doing so there is no point in saying so but I said it anyway. The bottom line is that she shines in roles like this where she is strong-willed, a woman who knows what she wants.  And wow, that office girl at the board meeting got pawned with the “I am the market!” speech. Damn.

Derek Ramsay is probably the weakest link but this is not saying that his acting is bad, but rather just boring. Nonetheless he is perhaps the perfect choice for the leading man because of his built and the fact that he seems to be the template for what men in this country would love to look like if they were to be born again. Ron Morales, on the other hand, plays the role of his conscience, I mean, his best friend, which the story writers devised to get rid of any boring monologue depicting personal struggle.

My problem with the movie is the cinematography. There are many beach scenes but the lighting is so boring. I suddenly remembered how vivid the colors were in the Temptation Island remake. Such is not the case here. Everything seems bland. They could have heightened the hues a bit for a glossier feel. The effect would have been awesome specially when you have lead actresses who look like they are always headed to a magazine cover photo shoot.

So, how does No Other Woman fare when compared to other local “kabit” movies that come to mind? All I could say is this: A LOVE STORY = sexy, intriguing. I LOVE YOU GOODBYE = Unfaithful wannabe. MY NEIGHBOR’S WIFE = soft porn. NO OTHER WOMAN = risqué, cliché. In terms of box office returns it is easy to predict that this would be Star Cinema's third 100M movie this year. The real question is whether it could topple Catch Me... I'm in Love and In the Name of Love given this weather, although judging from audience attendance and impact, it probably would.

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