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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 17, 2016

Just The 3 Of Us Movie Review: Engineered To Be A Feel Good Movie That Will Meet Audience Expectations

STAR Cinema and Director Cathy Garcia Molina once again team up to come up with another feel good romantic comedy starring John Lloyd Cruz that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, “Just the Three of Us”. JLC is Uno Abusado (what a name), an airline pilot who dreams of being a captain. In a club, he meets CJ Manalo (Jennylyn Mercado), a ground attendant who dreams of being a flight attendant. They have a drunken one night stand inside the club’s toilet.

A few weeks later, Uno sees CJ stalking him. He confronts her for following him and she tells him that she’s pregnant and he’s the dad. Uno doesn’t believe this and drives CJ away. But she’s persistent and does all sorts of ridiculous and humiliating things just to get his attention. He tells her bluntly: “You’re just some random girl I fucked in the bathroom.” But he finally takes pity on CJ and lets her stay with him in his apartment until they can get a DNA paternity test to make sure the baby is really his.

It’s very clear that Uno does not like CJ and is just tolerating her. But we all know and it’s so easy to predict as to where this kind of story formula will go. The two leads eventually get to know each other better. Uno has serious daddy issues because his dad abandoned him after his mom died at childbirth and he grew up with foster parents. In contrast, CJ comes from a caring and closely knit family who eventually accepts Uno as on
e of them.

Some of the elements seem hardsell, though, like the final sequence where they are flying paper airplanes in the street for a more upbeat ending. But it’s sweet, and it works, so what the heck. We’re also uncomfortable with that precocious, smart alecky girl who’s JLC’s meddlesome neighbor. She doesn’t appear like a realistic normal child but then, she serves her purpose in the movie, for whatever it’s worth, like reading the result of the paternity test at the ending.

And it helps, of course, that both JLC and Jennylyn are experts in doing romcoms where characters go through some contrived complications but still emerge triumphant in each other’s arms in the end. It’s so nice JLC once again doing the romantic leading man role he has learned to perfect portray on screen.

He certainly redeems himself after his lackluster performances in the two recent heavy pang-award dramas he just appeared in. One scene of his alone is already worth the price of admission: that scene when he sees the ultrasound image of the baby in Jennylyn’s womb and he becomes teary eyed. It is so effortlessly touching.

At this point, you know Uno has fallen in love with CJ and the film could have ended there, but wait, we have to have some more conflict to lengthen the running time, so CJ’s past boyfriend (Baron Geisler) suddenly shows up and claims that he’s really the baby’s dad. So Uno and CJ have to part ways again but, as may be expected, they will have to concoct a cute ending, where Uno repeats what CJ does to him at the start of the movie, stalking him.

Thanks to the seasoned Direk Cathy (who co-wrote the script with Vanessa Valdez), she knows the intricacies of the genre like the back of her hand and makes sure every element is properly engineered to make her characters very endearing to the viewers. After her numerous hits that made her a gold mine for Star Cinema, she is already quite an expert on how to make the now familiar formula still work so as not to disappoint the expectations of local viewers who are suckers for this escapist kind of crowd pleasing movies.