Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who’s That Girl? (2011, Wenn Deramas)


With the entry of SM Development Corp (SMDC) into the world of filmmaking, expect a proliferation of feel-good movies set in upscale chic condominiums and peppered with moneyed characters. Who’s That Girl? features the real estate developer’s latest celebrity endorser, Anne Curtis. The product placement starts from the very first scene. An aerial shot shows the splendor of the four-tower condominium development called Mezza Residences. The blatant advertising then gets more sickening as we see a lady transfer to her new swanky unit. A flock of hunks obligingly helps the beauteous charmer carry her things. Okay, we get it. Good Guys really do exist in these condominiums. And, also Audrey Hepburn-esque ladies, large swimming pools, and lovely rooms.

This bland movie, designed to sell the concept of high living at a condominium, may as well be the template for future SMDC movies. They will definitely not dwell in stories about corrupt generals investing in condominiums, balcony fall accidents, construction fatalities, and gas leaks in basements.

Elizabeth Pedroza (Curtis) is a UST Architecture graduate infatuated with her long-time school crush, John Eduque (Luis Manzano). Her world comes crushing down when she learns about the death of Eduque. She immediately goes to the wake and gets the shock of her life. She sees an older man, instead of a young man, lying in the coffin. The wife of the deceased John Eduque Sr gets piqued with her visit. A family friend’s simple question ‘who’s that girl?’ soon escalates into a grand-scale inquisition complete with kidnapping and high-profile rescue.

The movie takes risk with an unsympathetic character in Elizabeth. Yes, she’s hopelessly in love but her actions are reprehensible. A Thomasian stalker engaging in petty thefts? Bad… bad girl.

A stark contrast to her is Eduque, a campus heartthrob. He is supposedly a goody-two shoes but the scene showing him caring enough for mouth-agaped Elizabeth smacks of vanity and a bit patronizing. A second scene also doesn’t work out well. In a stagey contrived way, Eduque gets to comfort Elizabeth. The first act ends with no character to root for. Eduque comes across not as a Good Guy but plainly a rich, show-off kid. Elizabeth is simply despicable.

Curtis and Manzano tries their very best to salvage the movie with their on-screen chemistry. This is their third pairing and it is their worst film together so far. The characters are not likable and the truly comic moments, such as the predicament of a nude Eduque, come in trickles. I prefer their earlier pairings in All About Love and Ang Cute Ng Ina Mo, which was also directed by Deramas.

The use of a video recording to spur a moody change in Eduque’s mother is too convenient and unsatisfying. It is also a repeat of a device from the movie Ang Cute Ng Ina Mo. The video does not provide us with a concrete evidence of John Eduque Sr.’s undying love for Mrs. Eduque. How sure is she that she is the recipient of the video message?

The ending showing Elizabeth and Eduque frolicking at the UST Quadricentennial Fountain seems to be a last-minute addition by Deramas. Few films are set in UST so the Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate must have decided to show more of the school’s best assets. I think the original ending should have been the arrival of a lady in black at the interment of John Eduque Sr. Cue in the theme song, freeze frame, and you’ve got yourself a nice ending. The only problem with that type of ending is it will probably afflict the good guys at SMDC with sequelitis. No sequels please. I’ve had enough of this pathetic movie.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for your heads up that this is an advertisement dressed as a movie. Anyways I have no plans of seeing it in the first place.

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  2. what i am wary of is the implication of SM producing movies of which they are the main distribution chain in the country! GREED!

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