Saturday, September 14, 2019

LSS

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Two strangers meet on a P2P bus ride. Zack (Khalil Ramos) and Sarah (Gabbi Garcia) find themselves spending their time lost in traffic engaged in smalltalk and eventually segue to their common interest in musical genres and acts. As they reach their destination, the two walk towards opposite directions seemingly never to meet again as they immediately go back to their own realities. He has spent the last five years in the friendzone, not mustering the courage to court his bisexual bestfriend. She is an aspiring musician, setting aside her dreams and working odd jobs to send her younger brother to school. As they wade through the difficulties of their own lives, their paths will inadvertently cross again as dictated by their choice in music.

It’s not really a full-on jukebox musical, although there are scenes where they just sing out of the blue. It’s not Glee, though. The singing is more or less like when you can’t help but rock to a song or when a group of people sing while on a roadtrip. Since the storyline follows the lives of musicians, both established and aspiring, you also get to watch mini concerts and gigs along with some cameos from other acts in the business. Even then, it’s not in-your-face riding the jukebox musical trend.

This appears to be a vehicle for Ben & Ben to showcase their music and introduce it to a wider audience through film. As such, it can be said that their fans would have a better appreciation of the movie. Most of the songs are theirs and they also star as themselves. They also serve as producers. In a way you’d think it’s kind of self-serving. However, even those with just a pedestrian knowledge of the band will get to enjoy the narrative thanks to the balanced content that it offers.

Perhaps that’s it: Balance. While music holds this film together, you actually get a mix of different genres that complement one another instead of one overwhelming the other. In terms of storyline, it’s part family drama both for Zack and Sarah, but the plot does not focus much on that. The theme of reaching for your dreams leans more on her side of the story, while he gets the brunt of the ever unavoidable friendzone subplot. And then you get the romance part as their storylines converge.

Garcia and Ramos have palpable chemistry. Aren’t they a couple in real life? Maybe that’s where it stems from. They look too young, though, or perhaps it’s just signs of aging for me. One day these romantic comedies will star actors my generation wouldn’t even recognize anymore. The way the characters are written is also commendable, with just enough mix of idealism and reality to slap them in the face from time to time. It’s still a romantic comedy in its core, but sometimes it doesn’t necessarily feel like it.

Tuesday plays the role of Zack’s mother and their banter is just so fun to watch. In fact, that’s where most of the comedy is derived. Lest we forget, Tuesday also used to be part of a band, and she gets to sing a song here too. The other supporting cast members are relatively unknown and do not contribute much to the storyline. In any case, the main love team with the addition of Tuesday do most of the heavy lifting and their rapport is awesome.

All in all the film does a good job in adding a splash of reality when it comes to lofty ambitions in life, but it still ends in a predictable manner anyway. Lest we forget, this is still a formulaic romantic comedy, but at least there is an attempt on a fresh presentation anchored on music. It’s not that original to be honest, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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