Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Starting Over Again

http://starcinema.abs-cbn.com/movies/starting-over-again
♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

The love story between Ginny (Toni Gonzaga) and Marco (Piolo Pascual) begins on Valentines 2004 with her one-sided affection for him when he was her professor, leads to an actual relationship prior to her graduation, and eventually culminates with an unexpected breakup left unexplained. A few years later, their paths cross again. She is now an architect trying to make a name for herself. He has shifted careers, now a chef hiring her to remodel his ancestral home into what would be his second restaurant venture. Not having proper closure before, she desperately clings to whatever hope is left for a second chance. He, on the other hand, seems to have moved on with the help of his present girlfriend Patty (Iza Calzado), to whom he plans on proposing in the next few months. Considering their current reality, would rekindling old flames be enough for them to start over again?

Pascual has nothing left to prove when it comes to his acting repertoire, although there are several lines in this movie in which his delivery seems a bit rehearsed. Even so, he does not disappoint when it comes to the movie’s key moments, which is perhaps what matters most. What comes to mind, though, is the career trajectory he has decided to take. While starring in films heavily based on love teams has proven to be bankable still for some actors of the older generation (case in point: Aga Muhlach), one could not help but think that his acting chops would be of greater use for something indie, or at least something maindie like that role he had in OTJ.

Gonzaga is in her element here and provides most of the comedy needed to balance this rom-com. Besides, it is in this genre where her talents are most appreciated. Somehow, she is really not that effective when it comes to straight dramas, but that is beside the point. There are moments of overacting, although these could be conveniently dismissed as part of her character’s many flaws, with the issue of maturity coming to mind in particular. While this role could have been played by any other actress, it is her charisma which makes it possible for the character to be tolerable despite your annoyance making you want to hit her with something hard on the head. This big screen team up with Pascual was bound to happen, recalling that TV ad the two of them made eons ago, the main catchphrase of which is tweaked a bit and utilized here.

The highlight of the movie also happens to be the one which catches you off-guard, as an unlikely catfight ultimately erupts between the two ladies. While Gonzaga opts for all-out shock and awe, Calzado settles with a rather subdued retort, standing still and pretty resembling a younger Hilda Koronel, coursing through her eyes what she is dying to say but simply would not. The director could have jumped the shark and inserted kilometric bitchy lines which would have been the de facto water cooler fodder in offices for weeks to come. Instead, she decides to go for balance, which results in that scene flowing oh so beautifully you would think twice whether you are watching a Star Cinema movie or not.

To each and every befuddled Iza Calzado fan out there who is forever wondering as to why the movie industry has not been that generous to her when it comes to lead roles, you have the answer right here: She does not need it, because she manages to shine with supporting roles regardless. She did it in Milan; she does so again here. And yes, this further intensifies that feeling of regret involved in hearing the news that she would no longer be part of that soap opera with Bea Alonzo. The acting showdown would have been epic, to say the least. A movie with two of them sharing equal billing would probably suffice.

Only one Pinoy cult classic comes to mind when it comes to break-ups and second chances: One More Chance. Although this film would probably not hold a candle to that one as far as popularity is concerned, it does leave its mark by braving the direction which that movie never even dared to consider. This is, by far, one of Star Cinema’s more realistic movies to date, and that alone already merits a well-deserved pat on the back. As one of Ginny’s best friends would like to say: You are high on hope once again; why not have a good dose of reality this time around? To those who have chased, been chased, and are still desperately chasing, do yourself a favor and see this movie. You could thank Olivia Lamasan later.

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