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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.

Jan 4, 2019

Movie Review: 'Mary, Marry Me': The Winning Performances Of Sisters Toni & Alex Gonzaga Not Enough To Save The Film From Its Shortcomings

‘MARY, MARRY ME’ capitalizes on the fact that it’s the first movie together of sisters Toni and Alex Gonzaga. Toni is an established TV host who has done several successful romantic movies with Sam Milby and this is also the reunion of their love team after a long time. Alex has a huge following in her own youtube channel and her earlier solo movie this year, “Nakalimutan Kong Kalimutan Ka”, was an unexpected hit.

The script capitalizes heavily on their relationship as sisters. It starts by establishing how close their bond is, with Toni shown even personally cleaning Alex’ ears and the extracted earwax or tutuli is grossly exhibited on the big screen. Then their parents suddenly both perish in a car crash and Toni’s character, Mary Jane, is forced to give her younger sister, Alex as Mary Anne, to an aunt who lives in the U.S. for adoption.

It would seem that they have no communication through the years after that, as they drifted away from each other, even if Toni keeps on saying she loves and misses her sister so much. In this day and age of texting, email and social media, the long distance is no longer a problem as it’s so easy to maintain communication with your loved ones even if they’re abroad. So why did they not resort to that?

For the movie to have a big conflict, Alex suddenly comes home to get married here and her groom happens to be Sam as Pete, who turns out to be Toni’s ex when Sam was still working in Manila. Toni broke up with him because of her fierce commitment to Alex, which is bizarre since they don’t have any communication at all.

This is just a so very obvious and manipulative plot contrivance to create a big rift between the sisters. It may sound very intriguing on paper, but how you pull it off convicingly on the big screen is certainly another matter.

To begin with, honestly, why would Alex and Sam even choose to have their wedding here in Manila when they are both based in the U.S.A.? Yun na nga, para lang magkaroon ng chance na magbanggaan ang two sisters at ang movie na isang comedy ay mauwi sa isang walang patumanggang serious na kadramahan at komprontasyong punong-puno ng luha at meron ding sampalan, and later, so there will also be a touching scene of reconciliation between the warring, feuding sisters.

In all fairness, both Toni and Alex have winning and lovable screen personalities. Alex is the unabashed comedian here . She can be too loud, especially in her funny scenes when she turns into a babaeng bakla, and Toni wisely chooses to tone down her performance so it becomes a perfect foil to her more flamboyant sister. But their endearing presence and fairly competent performances can only do so much and are not enough to save the movie from its many shortcomings in the way the story unfolds.

They got several comedians to contribute to the merriment like Bayani Agbayani, Moi Bien and Melai Cantiveros but sorry to say that we didn’t find them funny at all, especially Melai as the balikbayan sidekick who is just trying too hard to be hilarious. This is the directorial debut of RC de los Reyes. We hope that for his next project, he won’t start shooting until he gets a polished flaw-free script.

In the final sequence, they even add some private jokes, including cameo appearances of Toni and Alex’s real life mom and Toni’s son, Seve. It’s  cute if you know how these people are. People were asking: “Sino yan?” And we have to explain to them na ‘yan ho ang totoong nanay at anak ni Toni.