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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 10, 2015

You're My Boss' Review: Works Mainly Because The Two Leads Give Charming, Endearing Performances

ANTONIETTE JADAONE is the director of the hour after her success last year as a director in “That Thing Called Tadhana”, “Beauty in a Bottle” and “Relaks, It’s Just Pag-ibig” and as screenwriter in “English Only, Please”. Her new movie, “You’re My Boss”, is actually more of a quickie, as it had to be rushed for its Holy Saturday playdate. Sadly, it ran smack against “Fast & Furious 7”, a big blockbuster worldwide and this has undoubtedly affected its box office take.

“Boss” uses the same mold that fashioned previous Star Cinema rom-coms. Jadaone once again has a lovelorn heroine, just like Angelica Panganiban in “Tadhana” and Jennylyn Mercado in “English Only”.Toni Gonzaga as Georgina plays an executive in an airline who asks the help of her assistant, Coco Martin as Pong, for her to be able to seal an important business deal with a Japanese investor.

The basic situation is reminiscent of the hit Hollywood rom-com, “The Proposal”, where Sandra Bullock plays an executive who asks her assistant, Ryan Reynolds, to help her and you know very well they’ll end up with each other, which is also what happens to Toni and Coco in this local rom-com. Another similarity is that Coco takes Toni to his hometown, Batanes. Just like Ryan who takes Sandra to his own quaint hometown in Alaska.

It’s to be accepted that the situations in these formula romances can be quite contrived. It’s up to the viewers if they’d be willing to buy them. In this case, much of “You’re My Boss” works mainly because of the winning charisma of the two leads. Both Toni and Coco have winning screen personas and they also both give charming, endearing performances.

Toni shines even in scenes where she’s alone, like the opening sequence where she’s stuck in Makati traffic and discovers that her ex (JM de Guzman in a cameo role) has replaced her with a new girl (Regine Angeles) and she scans Regine’s IG account, making her own snide remarks while watching Regine’s selfies. She also shines in her drunken scene after she sees her ex by accident and in that scene where she pours her heart out by talking to herself.

Jadaone is to be commended for her talent in making comments about social trends, like that scene where Toni and her girlfriends meet in a restaurant. Before she arrives, her friends are making fun of her but when she appears, they’re all sweetness and light telling her they don’t backbite her. When the dish they ordered appears, they all they get their cellphones to take photos in an example of food porn so prevalent in social media nowadays.

Coco shines as the poor boy from Batanes who loves floral shirts. Toni changes him to be more debonair like a real executive and he, in turn, changes Toni’s power dressing to cheap outfits bought from 168 in Divisoria.

Toni is actually quite bitter and full of spite, after growing up as an orphan who feels unloved by everyone. It’s easy to predict that Coco will change her for the better and they’ll fall for each other despite their differences.

Their situation becomes hilarious when their situations are reversed, with the bossy Toni becoming subservient to the commands of the previously humble Coco. Both Toni and Coco do not dodge even when the comedy is done at their personal expense, like when her friends say Toni is “hindi naman kagandahan” and Toni makes fun of Coco’s inability to pronounce English words like “global” and “social” correctly.

After a while, though, the movie loses its steam, what with the incredible plot mechanics involving the buffoonish Japanese executive being so gullible and even enjoying immensely a basketball game with kanto boys. This is all very put on and the movie can’t prevent itself from falling apart to make “laylay”. The movie plods along, the pacing becomes problematic, and this goes on up to the weak final scene inside an elevator.

Apparently, Star Cinema wasn’t able to convince Jadaone to come up with their usual more bombastic and crowd pleasing ending where lovers reunite in public and the people around them applaud. Well, after all, she has just done this herself in “English Only” and its showy conclusion at the bus station.

We believe that given more time, Jadaone could have come up with a more satisfying movie. As it is, let’s just be thankful for the wonderful chemistry between its leads and the undoubtedly idyllic beauty of Batanes where a lot of scenes were shot on location. It would have been a more bonggacious ending if the final scene was set in Batanes where Toni follows Coco, instead of just pursuing him inside a drab elevator. Still, they were able to make use of this well in the funny end credits showing Toni and Coco “devouring” each other while other passengers come and go.

Jadaone’s “Tadhana” is said to have attracted more local tourists to Sagada, so we have no doubt “Boss” will now attract more visitors to Batanes, using Skyjet Airlines. As in other Star Cinema flicks, there are other product placements within the movie, but Jadaone makes sure they’re not that intrusive. Thank heaven for such small mercies.