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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.

Apr 18, 2013

It Takes A Man And A Woman Movie Review: Exploiting Sarah Geronimo'S Jologs Image

EVERYONE predicted that “It Takes a Man and a Woman”, the third instalment in the love story of John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo as Miggy and Laida, would be a hit. But even Star Cinema was surprised at as how strong it is at the tills, earning P300,000 on its second week and still counting.

Just like its predecessors, “A Very Special Love” (2008) and “You Changed My Life” (2009), the third movie is engineered to be a real crowd pleaser. It doesn’t begin where the last one ended.

Miggy and Laida have broken up after Laida saw Miggy kissing his past girlfriend, Belle (Isabelle Daza). She went to New York and works with a top publishing company. The business empire of Miggy’s family, the Montenegro, is having problems. He made a lot of wrong decisions and has been demoted. He’s tasked to save their publishing company by getting the franchise for a prestigious magazine and Laida is requested to return home to help him in this project.

Working with an ex proves to be difficult for both Miggy and Laida, even if Laida insists she has moved on. It’s obvious she’s still very much affected when she sees Miggy being sweet with Belle. The result is plenty of comic scenes between the former lovers. In the end, we all know they’ll surely still get back into each other’s arms and we’ll get the obligatory happy ending, but Director Cathy Molina and her writers manage to make their journey together quite engaging to watch. They succeed to make even some of the obvious plot contrivances quite easy to swallow, like the two lovers ending up sleeping together in Laida’s very small room in New York and things conspiring for them to go sightseeing around Manhattan like they originally planned when they were still on.

Between the two, it’s Laida who has grown while they were away from each other. She became an independent spirit while working in the Big Apple and has returned to Manila speaking English with a palpable twang. To help them get the magazine’s franchise, it’s decided to feature her personal story with metamorphosis or transformation as the theme.

At the core of the film is the value of learning how to forgive. It’s not only Miggy who went astray here but also Laida’s dad, Al Tantay. But where as her mom, Irma Adlawan, has quickly forgiven her dad’s infidelity, Laida finds it difficult to move on and discard her emotional baggage and feelings of being betrayed. One touching scene in the film shows her asking her mom: “How do you forgive?” But the movie doesn’t wallow in sentimentality, what with Sarah being truly more adept in doing comic scenes. It quickly shakes off such moments of drama, with the over to the max “kilig” climax, where Miggy officially proposes to Laida, designed to be a true musical show-stopper. At the airport, Laida sees all the people around her, from porters and security guards to janitors and customs and immigration personnel singing Miggy’s song to her, “Kailan”.

Of course, it all works because of the winning screen personas of the lead. JLC is the only actor today we know who can do a “hagulgol” scene on screen without appearing awkward. He also might not be a real singer but he can still charm the viewers if he could barely carry a tune. Coco Martin tried doing something like this in “A Moment in Time” but the scene falls flat. What he needs is JLC’s effortless charisma.

It’s really amazing that JLC is more identified with Bea Alonzo as his original ka-love team but the public has truly embraced his tandem with Sarah more intensely, making his films with Sarah bigger blockbusters than the ones he did with Bea, that are, in all fairness to them, also true box office bonanzas, like “The Mistress”. Sarah’s basically jologs screen image must really be that appealing and endearing to countless viewers, especially in the end where the bloopers are shown and she just kept on giggling.

They get excellent support from Isabelle Daza as Belle, Al and Irma as Sarah’s parents, plus Matet de Leon, Joross Gamboa and Gio Alvarez as their personal cheering squad.

It’s said this will be the last edition in the Miggy-Laida trilogy but, judging from the public’s very warm response to “It Takes a Man and a Woman”, we won’t be surprised if there’d be another sequel. The film ends with their wedding and Laida is about to go back to New York to resume her work there. Miggy says he’s willing to join her and be a househusband. So we won’t be surprised if the next instalment would show “Miggy and Laida sa America”.