Carson (Maja Salvador) and Dio (Paulo Avelino) have been best friends for seven years, but that is about to come to an end. Maxing out their MRR, they finally graduate. Inevitable change is about to come when they reveal their plans after obtaining their diploma. He wants to go to law school to follow the footsteps of his parents before him. She wants to work as a social worker to give back to her mother, who can’t be any happier that she has finished college at last. Carson has always been in love with Dio, but she never had the guts to admit her feelings. Tagging along on a road trip to La Union en route to a music festival, she musters all her strength through alcohol and the coaching of her gay friend Jason Ty (Dominic Roco) to confess her love once and for all. What she doesn’t know is that he decided to go to that event to meet his old flame Pathy (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), an overachiever who left him for her dreams seven years ago. Will she end up graduating from the friend zone or is this the end of the road for the two of them?
We have all been there. Most people consider college as the best time of their lives. There’s just so much going on at university that seems to be a matter of life and death. Sometimes, romance becomes a coping mechanism to cope with that kind of pressure, and from it stems a myriad of love stories that are all different yet still very much the same in its core. In this film, it’s the unrequited kind, the much dreaded friend zone which might have undergone a couple of name changes through the decades but serves as a common experience regardless which generation you belong to.
Salvador totally embodies the best friend who has always been there, but her lingering stares should have separate billing. You know that an actress is really good when she does not have to utter a word and yet manages to make you feel what she won’t dare verbalize. It also helps that she does look fresh out of college. That lends some credibility to her portrayal. Her verbal musings with Roco while inebriated serve as the highlight of their story arc. That particular scene just hits so close to home. You should know, when the teenagers seated next to you start to audibly cringe, as if they were watching a documentary of their very own idiocy when it comes to love. If you are well above thirty, it will serve as a reminder of how complicated everything was back then, yet so fun. The bygone era of your carefree existence!
Avelino and Curtis-Smith are just fine. They are able to give what their characters demand. Perhaps the issue is with characterization. Both Carson and Jason Ty turn out to be more memorable because of their quirks. Here you have two people who wear their hearts on their sleeves, a train wreck waiting to be criticized. Dio and Pathy are the quiet type. There’s always this air of mystery surrounding them, which could easily translate as boring to some moviegoers. In terms of chemistry, Salvador and Avelino do have it, although theirs is more like rapport between two friends. Somehow, seeing them as lovers feels a bit awkward, or maybe it’s just me.
Roco is entertaining as the gay friend. While he serves the purpose of the best friend role, it is good to see that he has a subplot of his own. He is not there just to be one of the lead characters’ conscience or train of thought, but rather a well fleshed out person who has his own story to tell.
We love romantic comedies in which the lead characters just think out loud, usually with the assistance of liquor, to express what they really feel inside. We have nothing against mainstream love stories. It’s just that the predictability of the formula employed usually takes the thrill out of the equation. With indie flicks that tackle love and relationship without having to rely on tried and tested gimmicks, the focus will always be on the dialogue. In a way, it doesn’t feel like watching a movie, but rather listening to a friend open up about his or her heartaches. Such technique fosters a more personal atmosphere, an intimate setup that feels strangely familiar.