Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Unexpectedly Yours

Patricia (Sharon Cuneta) has just turned 50. Her ex-husband Yael (John Estrada) is getting married to a much younger woman. Her daughter Yanni (Julia Barretto) is flying to London to live with her boyfriend that she met online. Her mother (Pilar Pilapil) is still as domineering as ever dictating what she can and cannot do with her life. Her inputs at work are no longer appreciated and she starts feeling unneeded. When seaman Cocoy (Robin Padilla) moves in next door along with his nephew Jason (Joshua Garcia), she finds his cockiness rather hard to bear. His persistence impresses her, though, and little by little she starts to care, but believes that she should know better at her age. Is there an age limit in committing mistakes? How old is too old when it comes to falling in love?

There is a point in your life when love stories are all about you. The actors are your age. Their heartaches are also yours. And then there comes a point in your life when romantic comedies are no longer about you. You barely recognize the love teams anymore because they were still in Pampers when you experienced your first heartbreak. Their problems are so 15 years ago. Watching them does not evoke excitement anymore. If anything, it feels more like you are babysitting for two hours instead of watching a film. And then there comes the occasional movie with a couple from an older generation. Curiosity strikes. Do 50-year-olds fall in love? How do they find their dates? Do they also hookup on Tinder?

Unexpectedly Yours offers a peek on falling in love within that age range. The plot is promising and the material could have given so much more. The thing is, this is a Star Cinema flick directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina. From the get-go you already have this gut feeling that the film will fall prey to mainstream formula. After an hour or so, it eventually does. Not that there is anything wrong with that. If it sells, it sells. It's just that we could have expected something different. Instead, you get that feeling that you've already seen this narrative before. Same story. Younger actors. In the end, it's just the same old formula applied to an older love team.

But that does not mean that the movie doesn't have entertainment value, or relevance, for that matter. Even if the potential is not maximized, we still get to witness an older couple go through the motions of finding someone to be with. It provides a unique perspective on the concept of relationships, reminding you that it's not something that the younger generation has monopoly of. Perhaps that's what makes it all the more endearing, after all.

While most people would deem both Cuneta and Padilla as too old for this genre, one cannot deny that the two still have the chemistry that made their love team work decades prior. If audience impact was the sole indicator, that is. However, it is the maturity that they bring along that deserves appreciation. When you are in your 50's, it's no longer just about "kilig" anymore. Maybe that is the message that this story is actually trying to convey. People grow old but love stories will always be relevant because no matter how you try to deny it, it's really all around, and it is not exclusive to a particular age group or demographic.

It's also nice to see everyone having fun. There are plenty of scenes where you can see the cast just enjoying the moment, their laughter neither staged nor faked. You can see that they all had a good time during filming, and somehow that gives off a good vibe that makes everything feel light and easy to watch.

This brings us to our next question. Most of the audience at the cinema were millennials but the reaction was mainly positive. They were laughing. The atmosphere was lively. It gets you curious. Are they reacting the way they do because they find the story enjoyable, or do they find it enjoyable because they are familiar with the formula used to develop the plot? Same candy, same taste. Different wrapper.

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