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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.

Dec 29, 2012

"One More Try" Movie Review: Traditional Local Drama With Much Screaming And Slapping

“Thy Womb” is quiet, underwritten, with so many things left unsaid. “One More Try” is its exact antithesis: loud, overwritten, everything articulated and revealed, complete with much screaming, slapping and a violent catfight between Angelica Panganiban and Angel Locsin in a parking lot. All these ingredients, including a dash of titillating sex scenes, are enthusiastically engineered to make sure the movie is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Director Ruel Bayani knows local viewers go more for the hysterical type of drama, so he really goes to town allowing his characters to do much caterwauling, with everyone getting emotional as they confront each other. Admit it or not, this is the accepted norm for drama for most Pinoys who love suds, not the subtle controlled type.

The movie starts with Edward (Dingdong Dantes) and Grace (Angel Locsin) meeting each other in Baguio and making out. After the credits, Edward is now married to Jaq (Angelica Panganiban) while Grace is mother to a 5-year old boy, Botyok (Miguel Vergara), and also has a new partner, Tristan (Zanjoe Marudo.) Botyok’s blood is diseased with severe anemia and to heal him, he needs bone marrow transplant from his dad, who happens to be Edward. So Grace goes to him and asks for help.

Edward is so surprised as he didn’t even know they have a son. Jaq is very understanding about the whole thing. But then, Edward’s marrow doesn’t match with Botyok, so their doctor (Carmina Villaroel, who sounds more like a palengkerang fishwife than a doctor who has no compunction whatsoever about the deep moral issue involved in what she orders Grace and Edward to do) tells them to try in vitro fertilization to beget a new kid that will be Botyok’s new donor. As we all know, this simply won’t work. Because if it does, then we won’t have a serious conflict in the movie.

The doctor tells Edward and Grace to just go have sex to have another child. Both Jaq and Tristan agree, with a heavy heart. But Grace didn’t get pregnant so they’ll have to do it again. Both Jaq and Tristan put their foot down this time. Things get from bad to worse, leading to the violent hair-pulling incident between Jaq and Grace. Oh, viewers just love that scene and the other slapping scenes, too. Bayani knows that, so he serves them heaps so as not to let down viewer expectations.

And unlike in “Thy Womb” which suddenly ended leaving viewers clueless as to what will happen to the characters, this one won’t let you to just draw your own conclusion. There’s an epilogue resolution scene where everyone is shown happy. They’ve all reconciled with each other. Grace’s sick boy is now healed and she has two sons sired by Edward, with Tristan still patiently standing by her. And yes, Jac is also pregnant, so contented with her very virile husband. This is the kind of ending viewers want, where everybody feels good and nothing is left hanging in the air.

The core of the story about a woman borrowing someone else’s husband for her sick kid was used before by Danny Zialcita in “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan (1982)”. The story element about bone marrow transplant was used by the Chinese movie “In Love We Trust” (2008) and the Hollywood movie “My Sister’s Keeper” (2009, based on Jodi Picoult’s best selling novel) where Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric sire a donor baby to get a compatible bone marrow transplant for their ailing daughter.

As for the acting, no one among the four leads delivers a weak performance. As a matter of fact, they all come oh so strongly. Dignified is a word not familiar to them. The one who registers best for us is Angelica, showing much range and depth as the hurting wife who’s at first glad and willing to cooperate but later becomes angry, resentful and after the incident with Angel at the parking lot, remorseful.

The movie is unabashed soap of the first order complete with full blast histrionics from its cast. Bayani’s treatment is so heavy handed to make sure it will come out as a mawkish, no-holds barred tearjerker. Restraint is obviously alien to his vocabulary. As far as this unbridled melodrama is concerned, no doubt he pushes all the right buttons and accomplishes his intentions to manipulate the sentiments and assault the tear ducts of his target market, which is the reason why the movie is a big hit. But does it deserve to win best picture? Well, the fact that it won says a lot more about the sensibility and orientation of the Metro filmfest jurors.