Saturday, June 2, 2018

Kasal

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Lia Marquez (Bea Alonzo) is marrying the guy of her dreams. Philip Cordero (Paulo Avelino) is the scion of a wealthy political clan in Cebu. Considered as the city's most eligible bachelor, his future in politics should already be a given, but the emerging popularity of the opposition catches them off-guard. Aside from the planned wedding, Lia also suggests repairing an old bridge to endear her future husband to the people. Enter Wado dela Costa (Derek Ramsay), the hotshot engineer who takes on the challenge who also happens to be Lia's ex. Wanting her back in his life so bad, Wado hatches one plan after another to break the engaged couple apart, but his efforts are in vain. When he discovers his rival's darkest secret, he doesn't hesitate to pounce. In the end, who gets married to whom?

In terms of acting there is nothing to complain about, but the three leads have been boxed into their respective roles for the longest time and there really is nothing new about their portrayal here. Hearing Bea Alonzo being marketed again and again in her "most daring" role yet is becoming tiresome. Yes, she emerges from a pool in a two-piece, but all she ever does here aside from that is cry, a skill she is really good at. But then again, she is the suffering beauty who can't be happy because she is torn between two guys. We know she is a good actress, perhaps one of the best in her generation, but for crying out loud give her some fresh material that will expand her acting repertoire. She can't bawl onscreen forever.

Everyone would have already seen the film by now so this is no longer a spoiler. Philip is bisexual, as revealed by a video shown by his ex to Wado where he is seen canoodling with another guy. This leads us to the next question: What is the issue? It's 2018, do people still get blackmailed for their sexual preference? You like men and women, that's your business. As long as you are not cheating on your partner in the present, this shouldn't really be a problem. Is this movie really going to serve us another storyline with such gimmick? In fairness to the writer, it is justified. Somehow.

Lia's estranged father, convincingly portrayed by Ricky Davao, is transgender. In fact, she has one line where she says that her father is trans and her fiancé is bisexual, prompting a sarcastic laugh while claiming that she has almost completed all the letters in LGBTQ. It's not really their sexual orientation that irks her, but the fear that she will end up with the shorter end of the stick once again if Philip leaves her in the long run. At least that's what the story is trying to tell us to justify the LGBTQ hatred angle.

And then we have Wado who uses this discovery for blackmail. He even goes as far as jumping into the shower with Philip and filming the whole scene to accomplish his plan. This led to arguments saying that the character is homophobic, although I side with the director on this one. He's not homophobic, he's just a jerk. What annoys me is how boring this subplot actually is. If the character was crafted better, they could have gone down the seduction route. That's how you form a love triangle.

If Wado seduced Philip making him believe that he is into him and he actually succumbed, then that would have been the perfect justification for his half-baked plans. Not only would he have exposed his secret, he would have also shown Lia that her fiancé is not worth marrying due to his promiscuity. You get some bonus points if Wado ends up getting mixed feelings and doubting his sexuality. Perhaps that would have elicited some sympathy from the audience.

But that does not happen here. Instead, you sit there watching abused tropes unfold for an hour and a half while predicting what will eventually happen, with precision, because you have already seen this scenario a thousand times before, the only difference being the other party's bisexuality. In the end Wado does not have a redeeming factor, his being summarily dismissed from the story just like that seemingly agreeing with that sentiment. And then you have to watch Lia and Philip suffer just to make sure that their reunion will be sweet because that's how it's supposed to be in mainstream love stories. It's exhausting, to say the least.

Oh, do we need to mention the theme song playing in full volume during the obligatory love scene? Star Cinema is addicted to that shtick and doesn't seem to notice how cringe-worthy it actually is. Star Cinema seems stuck in its own formula. Oh well, at least Viva is experimenting. We can't have it all.


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