Tag Archives: Sharon Cuneta

tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Unexpectedly Yours’ is Fine, if a Little Desperate

Generational misunderstandings create a clumsy plot for this broad romcom

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Unexpectedly Yours is about Patty (Sharon Cuneta), who on her 50th birthday, ends up drunk and accidentally stumbles into the hotel room of recently returned OFW Cocoy (Robin Padilla). She sneaks out before anything untoward happens, but it just so happens that Cocoy has bought the house right beside Patty’s home, and he’s actually an old schoolmate that’s always harbored a crush on her. Patty, recently heartbroken, is initially resistant to his advances, but Cocoy persists, and he manages to show her that there might be more to life than trying to live up to expectations.

There really isn’t much to the central romantic dynamic here. It’s mostly told from Patty’s perspective, and the film seems determined from the onset to lay all the blame for the obstacles to the inevitable relationship on her. In fact, the film often makes her out to be an object of ridicule, at times capitalizing on her menopausal tendencies as a source of weirdly mean-spirited criticism. Cocoy, on his part, never really does anything wrong. Or at the very least, the movie never calls him out on being wrong, even when his pursuit of Patty creeps into levels of stubbornness that can feel a little too aggressive.

But it all seems to be designed to be a throwback to simpler times, the film keen to take advantage of the nostalgic appeal of its stars. And one has to admit that there really is something to the chemistry of Padilla and Cuneta, even if the movie surrounding them feels paint-by-numbers and a little stodgy. But those moments that really thrive on their appeal don’t really make up for all the clumsiness that this movie exhibits, particularly in its portrayal of younger people. This is a “romantic” film that dedicates a part of its runtime to a depiction of a focus group discussion where the main character learns about the attitudes of millennials.

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It’s a cringeworthy scene that highlights a bigger problem in the general approach of Star Cinema in marketing to younger people. Many of their recent movies feel so insecure in keeping up with the zeitgeist, and this seems to result in a lot of plots having to cope with changing times and the effects of social media. Some of the scenes in this film feel like transcriptions of an older person’s nightmares, with these strange, alien young people brazenly voicing out their angst against the previous generations, listening to influencers instead of their parents. It makes the film feel really old, its lessons springing from generational insecurities that historically turned out to be little more than paranoia.

The film is better when it’s concentrating on people being nice to each other. Some of the courtship scenes are actually fairly well done, playing up on the simple, romantic notions of nice people falling in love with each other. Everything else feels extraneous. It doesn’t help that the production feels a little shoddy at times, the sound recording in particular feeling below average even for a local film. Sharon Cuneta still commands as she always does. Robin Padilla continues to be limited as an actor, but this is one of those contexts where his particular brand of charisma works. Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto are fine in their supporting roles, but we’ve seen more from them before.

Unexpectedly Yours isn’t really bad overall, but it does feel a little desperate. There is a sense here that the film is specifically designed to have the broadest appeal possible, capitalizing on nostalgic appeal while scrambling to find something to appeal to younger people as well. And in that weird nexus, the film reveals its neuroses about its fading millennial audience, basically showing the results of all manner of market research, highlighting once again how difficult older corporations seem to find it to adapt to changing times. The film could have just stuck to what it does best: delivering kilig where it can find it. Kilig is timeless, after all.

UNEXPECTEDLY YOURS IS NOW SHOWING IN CINEMAS.
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha’ Lacks the Focus to Make Things Matter

In her first non-studio outing, Sharon Cuneta struggles through a series of disconnected comedic vignettes

NBHD movie 2 ticketsAng Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha begins with an animated intro that tells the story of the titular family that does not weep. Legend has it that if you have them over as guests in your house, they will bring you your heart’s desire. For Cora (Sharon Cuneta), that would be to have her family come back to her. She now spends most of her days alone in her house, getting drunk on cheap liquor. Her new helper, Bebang (Moi Marcampo) offers to help her find the legendary family, and enlists the aid of her uncle Biboy (Niño Muhlach) to do it.Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 8.03.03 AMThere isn’t much to the actual search, which largely takes place off screen. There are a couple of sequences where we watch Biboy aimlessly walking in streets, asking everyone in proximity if they’ve heard of or seen the people that he’s looking for. The scenes are comedic in theory, but the only real joke in this sequence is the visual of Niño Muhlach charging through these streets in increasingly absurd clothing, bothering regular people with wild, weirdly aggressive questioning.Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 8.03.33 AMThe aimlessness of those scenes is a symptom of a greater problem. The movie is wildly unfocused, and at times overly sloppy. At times, it feels like the script was assembled hastily, bits and pieces of different concepts stuck together into a single ungainly structure. Its scenes play out like unconnected vignettes, separate sketches that just happen to feature many of the same characters. For the most part, its most sustained source of comedy are the strained interactions between Bebang and Cora. They are infuriating to each other, Cora’s inherent meanness and Bebang’s dense behavior a reliable fount of comedic tension.Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 8.03.51 AMBut it wears thin. There just comes a point where the story needs to move on, where we need to see Cora really dealing with the problems in her life. The film builds to a big dramatic payoff, but it lands with a thud. It spent too much time on its sitcom humor for those big emotions to land. It took too much pleasure in making fun of Bebang to make her part in the dramatic resolution feel earned. The film in general doesn’t show enough sympathy for its characters. It makes it hard to connect with any of the emotional content, the film making them out to be too ridiculous and venal by the end.Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 8.04.19 AMThis is in spite of a pretty strong effort from the film’s main star, Sharon Cuneta. Perhaps the cleverest thing about the film is how it basically embraces the outside context that the Megastar brings with her. It builds a character on her image, finding odd humor in spite of circumstances that one might consider tragic. Cuneta’s comedic timing is impeccable, and she is still able to unleash plenty of affecting emotion. And she plays well with Moi Marcampo, who delivers a generous, un-self-conscious performance. But the script just doesn’t build enough around them to make it really matter.Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 8.04.57 AMThere are certainly funny moments in Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha, but as a whole it feels disappointing. It just feels sloppily constructed, its scenes giving off the impression that the whole thing was just haphazardly slapped together. It lacks connective tissue, the film settling for a disconnected series of comedic sketches that don’t really add up to a whole lot. It can be entertaining in the moment to see Sharon Cuneta strutting her comedic stuff, but the film seems to be promising more than it actually delivers.

ANG PAMLYANG DI LUMULUHA IS NOW SHOWING IN SELECT CINEMAS NATIONWIDE
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.