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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.

Feb 14, 2013

Why 'Seduction' Failed, Richard Gutierrez In Need Badly Of A Hit

WE FELT SAD that “Seduction” did badly at the tills. We think it’s mainly because local viewers today don’t really go for its slow-moving kind of storytelling. For their sex dramas, they want the snappy style of narrative in such hits as “No Other Woman” and “A Secret Affair” with its very “bakla” sensibility and outrageous exchange of quotable quotes and pa-witty dialogue. “Seduction” doesn’t have that but it does have weirdly comic scenes showing Richard making love to a matron (Shyr Valdez) to whom he owes money and a wedding party where a man is suddenly shown peeing. In the two aforementioned movies, the other women, Anne Curtis and Andi Eigenmann, also both get obsessed with the leading man, Derek Ramsay, but they never become as destructively wacko as Solenn Heussaff.

Another unfortunate factor is that it was shown at the height of Sarah Lahbati’s feud with GMA-7. Most people can’t understand her rebellion since it’s generally perceived that the network is taking good care of her and building her up to be a big star. The feedback on her is so negative and no doubt this also affected the film negatively.

And on top of this, it’s unfair that Richard and his mom Annabelle Rama were implicated in the controversy as some folks point to them as the ones who influenced Sarah to behave that way. Even if this weren’t true, how can you prevent people from having such a conception?

Richard really has to have a hit soon to give his acting career the shot in the arm it sorely needs. No doubt this has been neglected since he devoted more of his time to hosting shows like “Survivor Philippines”, “Planet Philippines”, “Oras Na” and “Extra Challenge”. He might have proven himself a good host and an ardent environmentalist, but his being an actor no doubt suffered. He didn’t make any movie at all for two years. Worse, no one got him for endorsements.

As an actor, he’s better known for his wholesome romantic comedies like “Let the Love Begin” and “My Best Friend’s Girlfriend” that all did well at the box office. Then he suddenly switches to playing a sexy drama like “Seduction” without much preparation and the result is understandably sad. The actor who excels in this kind of movies is Derek Ramsay, who has no hesitation in strutting around in his boxers on cam. Richard seems so very hesitant in displaying his own physique. In the beach and pool scenes where Solenn is scantily clad in her bikinis, he remains fully clothed. In other words, his efforts to change his image seem half-baked as he obviously has a lot of reservations about it.

We’re writing this not to put him down as we’re really quite fond of him and his family. What we want to do is for him and his handlers to make an honest assessment of where his career is going. Can his career still make a turn around? Of course, it could. Who would have thought Coco Martin would be the huge star he is now when he already bared everything in indie films where he even did flagrant gay scenes? But still, people embraced him warmly because he can act. Even in the case of Dingdong Dantes, there was a point where his career was neither here nor there, until he went sexy and did anti-hero roles like in “Segunda Mano” that gave him an acting award.

What Richard should do is to stop playing it safe and be more adventurous. Enough of the action-fantasies he does. Even “Captain Barbell” didn’t rate spectacularly well anymore. He needs to do a serious project that will test his acting mettle and prove to his detractors that he is not the ham actor that they claim he is. It may be a TV drama or a new movie. The sooner he does this, the better for him. Meantime, here’s hoping his next movie, “My Lady Boss” with Marian Rivera, will fare better at the tills than “Seduction” that failed to seduce viewers to go inside the moviehouse.