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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.

Jun 26, 2015

Just The Way You Are - Movie Review - The Stars Shine In A Material That Is So Old And Ancient

THE MATERIAL used in, "Just the Way You Are", the first movie of the Enrique Gil-Liza Soberano love team (based on a "Wattpad" story called "The Bet) is just so ancient. "Inaagiw na sa baul", as they say in Tagalog. The bet as a plot device has already been used in so many movies and TV shows since time immemorial. It was last used in "She's All That" a 1999 teen rom-com starring Freddie Prinze.

Director Ted Boborol also pays tribute to another source, Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" which is discussed lengthily in one scene. This also has an American version, "Ten Things I Hate About You", which starred the late Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles.

To spruce up and improve on his recycled material, Director Ted makes his movie's production design more of an eye candy using multi-colored sets that look so unreal. The characters are always wearing jackets and sweatshirts, which is also so unreal considering how hot our weather is. So if you don't go for this kind of unreality, better avoid it as you'll only be annoyed.

But if you're a fan of the Liz-Quen love team and their recently concluded soap, "Forevermore", you just might enjoy this fan movie that is so constructed to insure that it'll have a lot of the obligatory "kilig" moments. Enrique is Drake (Swift in the original, but now changed to Sison), the most popular jock in school. He and his friends make a bet that he should make Liza as Sofia Taylor (even their names are so Hollywoodish, paying tribute to Taylor Swift, of which the original author is obviously a fan) fall in love with him in 30 days.

Just like in other rom-coms, they bicker and start on the wrong foot. Also, they have serious issues with their respective dads. But we all know they'll eventually fall in love with each other, then they will temporarily have a falling out, but as sure as hell will be reunited again in the end, even forgiving their respective erring parents. The formula is now so sickeningly familiar but it seems local filmgoers don't mind at all, so Star Cinema just keeps on making the same kind of movie.

Most of the time, what carries the movie is the appeal of it actors who use their ample charms to supply what the movie itself lacks. Both Enrique and Liza are the film's saving grace as they do their best and come up believable in their engineered dramatic scenes. We hope that both Enrique and Liza will later be given less mediocre and more challenging material as they really both show some depth as performers.

Liza, for sure, is a good find. She not only oozes with charisma and star quality on screen but can also act persuasively. She stands out in her effortless crying scenes, particularly in that scene in the car where she shares with Enrique the sudden death of her mom and her dad's losing all their money due to gambling. Ricky Davao demonstrates once again that there are no small roles, only small actors. He plays Liza's dad and is very touching in that scene where he sings to her and asks forgiveness. Okay, we forgive him, but not the movie for not really offering anything new.