Love Gone Wrong

Zombie... Be scared

When I Met U is a Valentine movie offering of two of this generation’s hottest celebrities. It is also a follow-up from the success of the film For the First Time. Despite the predicaments our nation is facing, romcom flicks are very much marketable. The jam-packed theatres are the gauge to say that a film is a sensation. And yes, it is and this film has a very good advertising strategy to achieve financial success. But I beg to disagree - the insight of love the film story has set is a sure letdown on my part. Well, who cares anyway? This particular film is what the audience wanted – guilty pleasure I suppose. The kilig aspect is tolerable. But we have to explicate the rationale why this real love they are trying to advertise is just a mere artificial love.

Am I on the same boat with the audience? Oh yes, definitely. I have been championing these kinds of films for such a time. But for this film, it is shameful to succumb only to what the audience only wanted. Our local audience has been susceptible to a film’s promise of true love; even mistaking the kilig facet as the love. Escapism is indeed the bread and butter of the Filipino movie industry. I watched this during Valentine’s Day and I was not surprised with how the film faired with the audience. They got pleasure from the film for different reasons I suppose. It’s inevitable that the two lead stars look good as a love pair. Also, the film has ample amount of crappy mushy moments the audience will surely crave. I have to negate every single asset the film has because it reflects a different connotation to what kilig and love is all about.

To be honest, the film story is a representation of our generation. It is a story of two people who are trapped in unhappy relationships. Jenny (KC Concepcion) is a promodizer who is in a relationship with a serious veterinarian Albert (Alfred Vargas). Benjie (Richard Gutierrez) on the other hand is a struggling pilot. His girlfriend Tracy (Iya Villania) is a chic pastry chef. With these simple descriptions, I might assume that they come from the middle-class. It is also apparent that their respective partners look pleasing. Of course a few traces of negative traits are inevitable. Who is perfect by the way? But as the film progresses, it seems that Jenny and Benjie are just pissed-off with their partners. I think it has something to do with how the movie must achieve its purpose. But it could have presented it in a manner wherein the story goes just as it is without trying too much. I definitely believe that unhappy states in relationship are not entirely bad. These characters simply lack contentment.

To continue the story, the two lead characters meet in an uncanny situation. Both of them need to attend a wedding party in the island of Palawan. Since Albert and Tracy have common friends, it was requested that Jenny could hitch a ride in Benjie’s cargo plane. Soon enough, the plane had some engine troubles and landed on a remote island near Palawan. As the night sets in, the two started to exchange their ideas on love and Benjie initiated the fatal kiss.

Actually that moment is part of the film’s premise. I don’t want to mislead the audience for what the film has in store. It is a wise decision for the film to show this scenario as a reminder that these two characters are meant for each other no matter what. But if we review their background, which I first mentioned, I bet their acts could have been distasteful to a wider extent. After that kissing incident, they get back to Manila and started to see each other in secret. They did not even bother to break-up with their current partners. And most of the foolish audience gets to scream their hearts out in every love gesture of these two cheaters. And mind you, Jenny is playing it dumb to excuse herself from being guilty of her philandering act. It is a double standard I guess.

I don’t think this relationship would last. Poor audience, they simply get to see themselves in those situations. I mean, come to think of it, I cannot entirely blame the creative team for the tormenting film they have actually made. It is what the audience has wanted in the first place. And the story appears to be just a skeletal framework for all the kilig scenes to push through. But despite the story’s brittleness, it is still the audience I surely blame. Do we seek love simply for our self fulfillment – I think so. I simply see the characters to be selfish in their motives. Love is innocent but definitely not ignorant. Romcom flicks have an established pattern. But this one is such a mess.

When I Met U edifies a selfish pursuit for love. Albert and Tracy might have my sympathy than the other two. Despite their manipulative actions, I think it is just a product of the irrevocable contrivance of the story. But in real life, I think they must qualify to have loved more when they fight for a relationship that is not miserable, but could be realistically defined as plain contentment. I speak only in terms of their stand in the relationship but not on their actual characters. Anyway, audiences are free to feel the magic spark of love. This film has it. But I assure you that magic isn’t real.

Charlie Koon's Rating:
Critic's Note:
I also noticed that the film looks rushed. It is like the pito-pito kind of film. I pity the film stock used in this film for some reason. The material is expensive and yet it has been used just for a fancy display of love and affection by these two skanky characters. Poor film stock! And the silly dubbing is predominant all throughout the film – I have been particular with this ever since. This supposedly romantic film ruined my special day. The other chick flick Confessions of a Shopaholic did cleanse my system afterwards. Even though it is a Hollywood film (I don’t review foreign films) its pattern of a romcom is much pleasurable.

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