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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.

Nov 23, 2022



VIVAMAX LATEST erotic drama, “Us X Her”, starts streaming this Friday, November 25. 

It stars today’s hottest Vivamax sex sirens, AJ Raval and Angeli Khang, with Kiko Estrada as the man who comes between them. 

This is the second directorial work of GMA screenwriter Jules Katanyag who debuted in 2016 in Cinema One Originals with “Magdalola at ang mga Gago” starring Rhen Escano. The movie won the special jury prize.

We don’t know how Katanyag’s new movie will sit with regular audiences as it is very stylized. 

At the start, we thought it’s going to be a film about deadly obsession since Angeli as Lila plays the diehard fan of Kiko as Dave, a top basketball player.

Lila doesn’t mind if Dave is already married to AJ as Mari and has a one-night stand with him. 

Dave doesn’t want to see her again after that and she vows to get back at him. 

But instead of being like ‘Fatal Attraction’, the movie took a very different turn and becomes a weird kind of menage-a-trois with the three characters sharing the same bed. 

Katanyag says he was inspired by Viva’s film, “Sinasamba Kita”, but his movie is miles away from that. 

The 1982 film is about Lorna Tolentino putting her elder sister on a pedestal and worshipping her as her lodi. 

This one is more reminiscent of the 1990 Viva flick, “Kasalanan Bang Sambahin Ka”, directed by Chito Rono, with Vivian Velez as the woman obsessed with Julio Diaz who’s already married to Dawn Zulueta.

But “Us X Her” is also aeons away from hat. There are scenes when AJ and Angeli suddenly dance and in another dance sequence, Kiko later even joins them. 

The ending becomes very theatrical, with the three characters wearing flesh colored tights and emoting on top of a mattress. 

It’s up to the viewers to come up with their own interpretation about the whole thing. 

In fairness to the three lead stars, they all perform well, specially Angeli Khang who has the most demanding role of all. 

In one prolonged scene, she is shown quickly switching from one emotion to another: mad, glad, sad, crazed. And in all fairness to her, she is able to pull it off credibly.  

Kiko Estrada is also good as the basketball star who gets injured and loses his career. 

He invests his earnings into various businesses that, unfortunately, all didn’t do well.  

He is down on his luck and with him taking pain killers for his injured leg, he gets hooked to substance abuse and sinks into a bottomless pit of failure and self pity.  

Kiko says during the Q&A that he was just a second choice for the role of Dave, which was first offered to Diego Loyzaga. 

But Diego got sick and the script was then given to him two days before the shooting starts.  

He didn’t mind being a mere second choice as he fell in love with the script and his character. 

Kiko is a very competent actor but we pray that he’d take better care of himself. 

In the film’s zoom presscon before, he appeared with huge shades. 

In the press preview, he didn’t even bother to dress up for the occasion and looks like he’s just going out to the neighborhood sari-sari store to buy something.

Very unglamorous for a movie star, when Angeli Khang was wearing something more formal.  

AJ Raval was absent in both the zoom presscon and the press preview. 

She has made herself very scarce these days, confirming allegations that she’s indeed currently carrying a special package.

A real gem in the movie is the musical score by Paulo Protacio which sustains the mood of each scene effectively. 

Direk Jules is very lucky that Viva allowed him to indulge in his own whimsical style of storytelling with a film language that is definitely a far cry from the usual sex and violence flicks they show on Vivamax. 

But regular Vivamax subscribers won’t be disappointed as “Us X Her” contains the usual quota of sex and nudity and even features a protracted pompiyangan and kiskisan bedscene with AJ and Angeli.