Movie Review: It Takes A Man And A Woman

The movie is about a couple on a long distance relationship that breaks up when Laida (Sarah) comes home to find Miggy (John Lloyd) kissing someone else. Flashbacks were used to show he did so only because he was vulnerable at the time due to his dad having just died. Laida goes back to the US and never forgives him despite his many attempts at reconciliation. It should be noted Laida is also sore at her father who cheated on her mother. This is important to understand what Laida’s issue is: a supposed inability to forgive, which I did not really get out of her. More on that later.

Miggy is the black sheep of a wealthy family whose publishing company is counting on finalizing a republishing agreement with a big brand in the US (or some franchising scheme I imagine), and wouldn’t you know, the only person who can help them is Laida. Much of the scenes have to do with the two dealing with each other along with Isabelle Daza, his current girlfriend who also happens to work with them.

So here’s what I think:

  • Laida’s flashbacks as a worker in the US are unflattering and she comes across as incompetent. Why then does Miggy’s brother (the CEO of their family company) believe in her so much? Besides she had only been working in the US for only two years, and not all of them at a publishing company. This is an inconsistency that kept bothering me for most of the film because I was wondering if there was any other reason why she was hired.
  • Adding doubt to her competence is her general unprofessionalism. Laida is obviously still sore at Miggy and makes blatant references to his cheating in office meetings and such, all done in this annoying accent and behavior that’s neither necessary, convincing or funny. I’m just baffled at this and would alternately think anyone else would’ve been fired by then and wishing I was the boss so I’d fire her myself. 
  • John Lloyd is a good actor. I think I’ve seen more than five of his movies and he’s every bit as advertised. He is intense, subtle and in the moment, and he really is today’s Dindo Fernando. I would really like to see him do other roles though, like play a gay character for instance, or maybe do comedy.
  • As capable as Sarah is as a singer however, she is surely not an actress. Granted Sarah isn’t helped by the fact that the Laida character is fairly complex. Laida is supposedly a professional, savvy woman with trust issues. She is deeply hurt yet still smitten by her boyfriend, all while doing a ‘makulit’ style of acting that all actresses in local romantic movies seem to prefer, unfortunately however only working for Nida Blanca.
  • But what bothers me the most is her reported(?) issue at being kissed on screen due to her parent’s wishes. In my opinion there is no more obvious reason why you should not be an actor when you cannot perform an on screen kiss, especially if you want to do romantic movies. It’s not really non kissing per se that bothers me, but wondering how else her life is restrained via rules placed upon her by someone else, and at her age to boot.
  • An actor needs to live a more or less complete life to understand how it is to play out a role. As a young actor, she needs to live. She needs to fall in and out of love, get into fights, get lost, get found, and just experience raw emotion. If she cannot even kiss then what else other things are you not allowed to do? It is living your life via someone else’s rules that bother me. Parents or not, good intentions or otherwise they are someone else’s rules and you need to find yours.
  • The best actors here are Isabelle Daza, Al Tantay and Rowell Santiago. Isabelle is a treat to the eyes and steals a scene just by walking into it. It’s a pity they had her character do a dramatic walk out and quit her job when Miggy broke up with her, just more unprofessional behavior all around!
  • The most annoying by far moments are the over extended marriage vows scene where they are basically mouthing unintelligible gibberish towards each other, hoping to, I dunno, entice ‘kilig’ moments. Which of course fails because you cannot contrive ‘kilig’. It makes you squeamish and just makes you want to run the hell out. I don’t get it and probably never will.
  • Finally, any movie that shows behind the scenes during ending credits does not take itself seriously. When you tell a story you take great pains to make your audience believe via lights, sounds, direction, great acting and so forth. The last thing you want to do is make people realize they were watching a production which is exactly what happens when you do that. It was done in an ‘aww they’re really so cute together’ way to milk all the kilig you can get, but really, we the audience needs to grow up out of that, and movie makers need to respect us more to avoid resorting to gimmickry. Give us STORY, give us DRAMA. Well honed performances acted out, directed and produced by professionals, and the audience will pay you back with not just sales (it made a ton) but with RESPECT and LOVE. Only then can local movies move forward.

There are no other movies that make me feel outside looking in than movies like these. At one of the scenes between the two that worked I looked around me in the theater and saw rows of women, teens and grandmothers, all laughing, smiling and just enjoying themselves. Even my wife is reacting to everything on screen and is in another world far away from wherever I was.

It’s obvious therefore that I ‘don’t get it’. Even after when we agree about the movies’ gaping holes in the story it’s clear Jill will want to see any other movies with them in it over and over again. There is an appeal to these things female Filipinas find irresistible. I do not have a vagina, therefore I don’t get it. Simple as that.

What I have learned though is that after watching a decade or more of these movies, I think anything with John Lloyd in it is reasonably acceptable (especially the ones with Bea Alonzo, who is his most competent partner so far). I’ve started to see strains of improvement, with less unnecessary elongated scenes and quicker, more linear transitions. The biggest complaint I have however remains the same: bizarre, gaping wide holes in the story that defy logic, any of which could have been avoided by having a quick fact – check. I still wouldn’t watch them if the wife wasn’t asking me to, but over time I’ve started to regret them less.

6/10

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: It Takes A Man And A Woman

  1. ella

    You should watch the first one. The writer works rather well around the constraints given to him by the studio. The actors shine because character development was less clunky. I thought Sarah was really good in the first and then because they think it’s the catchphrases or “kulitan” that made the movie a blockbuster they ask her to do an exaggerated version of all of Laida’s quirks. I though the “bebe” and “the powerhug” scenes were awful and took me out of the story, making me feel like I was watching an ASAP skit. There was none of that in the first movie. (What self-respecting professional would have a ring tone like that heard at the office!).

    John Lloyd has played a gay character, not a main character though. He was Luis Manzano’s boyfriend in “In My Life”. I haven’t watched it though. I stay clear of dramas because often they make me want to throw books at the screen just to stop the godawful wailing they seem to think is a requirement for pinoy dramas. I think he would make a great Jack in Jack n’ Jill if they made another one.

    I just watched the first one and was so surprised by the writing that I googled the writer.
    I found his blog and found that he was in UP Law and quit to pursue a degree in film in London. Good choice, we need better writers for these pinoy studio films. Surprisingly, none of the videos I watched thanked him for the success of the movie or even mentioned him at all, which is a travesty because he was the hero of that first film.

  2. ella

    I think the kissing constraint is more the studio trying to protect her “good girl” image rather than the parents imposing their wishes, which I find strange because she dances like a harlot on ASAP.

  3. Gabriel Mercado Post author

    ella chat me up on fb when you see me I’ll talk to you about that writer you mentioend. sobrang small world.

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