Thursday, June 24, 2021

A Girl and a Guy


Fiona (Alexa Miro) and her boyfriend are aspiring filmmakers who are beginning to drift apart. After arriving late in their hotel room and a frustrated attempt at intimacy, they break up and he smothers her with a pillow. Working as a marketing strategist for his godmother, Raf (Rob Gomez) has never really shaken off his immaturity. Arriving late at a dinner date with his girlfriend at a fancy restaurant, she stabs him multiple times before slitting his neck with a steak knife. Or at least that is what happens in their imagination. One thing is for sure, it is definitely over for the two couples. Multiple rebound flings later, Raf and Fi meet on Tinder and later at her birthday party, but an emerging pandemic stifles any chances for a relationship. As the world goes back to normal and they are given the opportunity to turn what's platonic into something romantic, they are already committed to different people. Will they settle down with their respective partners or take a chance on something unsure?

The film is R-18. You see perhaps half a dozen pairs of boobs bouncing around. Flaccid and semi-erect dicks. Gratuitous sex scenes. If you are well acquainted with European cinema then this brand of nudity is tame, to be honest. But this is a Filipino film being marketed to a pseudo-conservative society raised to believe that they will be knocking on Satan’s door when they die if they indulge in watching sex and nude bodies onscreen. Perhaps that’s the reason why this movie will come across as edgy and daring to some, as if your saccharine Star Cinema rom-com fodder had a baby with an 80’s bomba flick and sprinkled the offspring with millennial flavoring.

My only disappointment is the ending. While Miro and Gomez are marketed in the teasers and trailers as the primary love team here, their characters only stumble upon one another for a few seconds in the opening act and don’t meet again until an hour of screen time has elapsed. The characters have sex ad nauseam with a lot of people BUT never with each other. As such, you are led to believe that this will not be your typical love story. And then that ending happened, despite being vague, to shatter that twist which for a time during the film’s two-hour run just felt so refreshing to say the least. Like they spent two hours to prove that it's different only to succumb to mainstream formula at the last minute.

For newbies, we can say that both Miro and Gomez are brave enough to tackle such roles, taking into consideration how the public will brand them for it. If anything, it is a good way of making a splash to get noticed in the biz. A breakout role if we may say so. And they will be remembered for sure, but whether they become some sort of one-hit wonders after this is totally up to them. Now that they have caught people’s attention with such a steamy introduction, perhaps more roles will start coming their way.

As for the story, it is a good look at one’s twenties from the point of view of a younger generation. We’ve all been there, but times were obviously different. How do these young adults navigate the complicated world of relationships with all the different tools at their disposal now? How does one generation make the same stupid mistakes a decade or two later? It’s educational for those who no longer consider themselves as millennials or Gen-Z. For those who belong to that generation, it’s a good addition to the wealth of material on how to deal with what is arguably the most tumultuous yet exciting stage of adulthood.

Overall, you will love the soundtrack and the visuals. Lest we forget, Erik Matti directs. Guy is a visionary. Enough said.

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