Goes with the Flow

Oh Prince Charming, where art thou? ü

Venice. Savona. Rome. Pisa. Barcelona. Tunisia. Genoa. Napoli. Palma de Mallorca. Florence. Marseilles. These foreign places are used as backdrops for the film’s setting. That’s a bit generous for around two hundred bucks price admission. I.T.A.L.Y. (I Trust and Love You) is a plushy film, sustained by its splendid technical execution, and has a story that approaches a lighter touch on real-life drama. The fact that I had a nice time watching this film, viewing it is not in any way insulting.

I was sure that from the moment the opening credits are revealed, this is a lavish film production. Its rich visuals are engaging; appealing to be a good film appetizer. I rarely see local films that make tremendous efforts for such opening credits. Actually, I am as well cautious not to be overwhelmed with its grandiose setting and supposed to be impressive technicalities without giving complete attention to the film story/script. I appreciate Senedy Que’s clever writing approach and prudence in handling tailor-fitted characters. The story goes on as it is suppose to with minor understandable flaws.

Eager to meet her destiny, Destiny (Jolina Magdangal) seeks advice from a dubious fortune-teller for possible signs about the man in her dream. The fortune-teller vehemently gives her three vague and ludicrous signs that her prince charming will manifest. She notifies everything in her slum book. Along came a job offering for a cruise ship as a housekeeper, which without hesitation, she grabs due to financial problems. On her voyage, she willfully searches for the ‘destiny guy’ amongst the ship crew and passengers. Then she meets Paolo, (Dennis Trillo) a handsome mysterious guy that manifests two of the supposed signs. The last one - she will have to glance first at Paolo’s butt!

Let’s not kid ourselves; this film is made to entertain. It is evident with the director’s strides in technical excellence. With our country’s current financial instability, some people go to movie houses not to think, but to be amused and relaxed. But personally and in principle, I prefer thinking. On the contrary, an entertainment film such as I.T.A.L.Y. is rather a good form of diversion, a sort of stabilizer. I.T.A.L.Y. in consideration is smartly handled and its technical proficiency is enough reason to admire it. But I am daunted with the film’s appeal though. Even if I liked it, (I think the film is cute) there is a lesser audience as compared to most recent romcom flicks. Has it lost the hypnotic charisma it should possess and has somewhat transformed into a piece shameful trash an inevitability in formula films, hence the caustic indignation from most film critics. We want films to evolve, not to produce a static mold that the viewers will never be tired of. It does not exist. A movie must cater to the changing demography? Not quite. But I have something to say, Jolina Magdangal is in the industry for more than fifteen years. She has not yet shed off her virginal, uncorrupted, undefiled image.

Trillo has most of the dramatic sequences in the film and his acting is quite pleasing. He still manifests the matinee idol appeal expected from him. There is an undertoned love angle in the film between Rhian Ramos and Mark Herras. Ramos as Phoebe is inherently beautiful – she somewhat resembles the French actress Roxanne Mesquida. Herras fits his character well. The farce comedy element in the film relies heavily on pop culture parody and to some extent used slapstick for humorous effect. Eugene Domingo as Lovely and Rufa Mae Quinto as Stella excelled in this department. Their good command in shambles and travestry is not insulting even if it is nonsensical (on Stella’s part). As long as you like comedy, and you laughed your hearts out, their performance must be equally lauded for their precision. And yeah, I caught myself laughing for silly matters – forgive me.

I personally commend films which know a lot about film development. I.T.A.L.Y. is technically superior. It is diverse in musical scoring. The sound design is splendid (hardly ever seen dubbed parts). The story is unique with its proud demeanor in adopting farce comedy alongside the romantic overtones. Objectively speaking, the director Mark Reyes nailed it. But their main star, Magdangal, has her appeal diminished and was overshadowed by her contemporaries. She must rationalize the true essence of being an actress which involves higher risks. I sense that it is not mainly the producers or Magdangal’s manager that prevents her from developing roles in more robust direction, rather Jolina Magdangal alone. So, better watch out.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

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