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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 29, 2017

Can We Still Be Friends Movie Review: Gerald Anderson & Arci Munoz Deserve A Better Movie

WE’RE NOT SURPRISED that the second screen outing of Gerald Anderson and Arci Munoz, “Can We Still Be Friends”, is not as big a hit at the box office as their first one, “Always Be My Maybe”. They played relatable, very endearing characters in their first film directed by Dan Villegas. In the second film helmed by Prime Cruz, they played off-putting losers we just simply cannot sympathize with. It cannot even be called a rom-com since it simply failed to make audiences laugh.

She says she’s been hanging on to him for eight long years hoping he’d change for the better. Well, she’s such a patient martyr, isn’t she? He’s always late in picking her up, he can’t even help her in cleaning up the condo unit that they co-own and he puts back empty pitchers of drinking water to the fridge instead of refilling them.

These are very valid issues. And she lets this go on for eight long years? Doesn’t she know you can only change a man when he’s still in his diapers? He’s a fucking asshole and she’s a fucking doormat. And she’s such a big bimbo as she later on regrets her own decisions and seeks reconciliation with him because she has realized how much she loves him despite his being a douchebag and it was really wrong to break up with him.

So how can you relate with these idiotic characters? When they break up, you don’t even feel sorry for them. To pad the running time, Arci meets a boring doctor, Trevor (Brian Santos), on Tinder and dates him. Gerald also meets another flirty girl, Cindy (Ria Atayde), who even lives with him but it’s not really clear if he’s really into her or he’s just coasting along.

Arci meets Ria with Gerald by accident in a supermarket and later sees Ria in Gerald’s apartment when she drops in unannounced, but you can’t even feel any tension between them. As for Gerald, he doesn’t even really seem heartbroken or miserable at all about breaking up with her dumb and gullible live in partner. And you don’t blame him.

You don’t really feel thrilled or excited about him and Arci at all. At some point, you just lose your interest in what’s going on and don’t care anymore whatever would happen to them. When Arci pretends she choked on her food while eating, you wish she’d really die so the movie would end quickly. Can they still be friends? Who the hell cares? We ourselves wouldn’t want to be friends with them as we’re just so bored to death after watching their senseless shenanigans for a while.

We’re surprised that the Star Cinema executive committee did not interfere in the completion of this movie when they would demand reshoots in most cases, like in “The Unmarried Wife” and the new John Lloyd-Sarah Geronimo movie. The script of “Can We Still” seriously needs a lot of rewriting for it to be entertaining like past Star Cinema romcoms.

It’s just too bad for Gerald and Arci because they both register charmingly on screen and have pretty likeable chemistry. They certainly deserve a better material. Here, they’re both eclipsed by their gay character friend who delivered a kilometric aria as his wedding vow to summarize what they probably think is the point of the whole movie: that we should all embrace our partner’s imperfections.

The millennial treatment of scriptwriter Jen Chuaunsu and director Prime Cruz, who started with indie films, is seen in many elements, like the couple living together without the benefit of marriage, the dating app Tinder (but it’s surprising that Arci doesn’t know about Tinder at all when she works in an ad agency) and the same sex marriage between Markki Stroem and Gege Severo that will probably please the LGBT community. But alas, such contemporary flavors are not enough to make a good movie and they have yet a lot to learn in making witty, winning, truly crowd-pleasing mainstream romances.