How do I say this? I've warmed up to the "watery charms" of John Lloyd Cruz. I once used that offending phrase about him, but a girl can change her mind. As I sat watching Star Cinema's post-Valentine offering Miss You Like Crazy, I was thankful that the movie is all about him. He plays Alan Alvarez, a regular guy with a good job, a pretty girlfriend, and an okay life. One day on the Pasig River Ferry, he meets the girl who will change his life forever. Bea Alonzo, that creamy-skinned leading lady du jour, plays Mia Samonte, a down-to-earth girl who falls for Alan's nice guy game. Problem: he's in a relationship with someone else. You can take it from there.
I don't want to reveal too much about the plot of this "thought provoking romantic drama" (the words of Star Cinema not mine) because, er, there's not much to reveal. Its pure formula but they do develop the characters nicely, giving them back story and complete arcs. Sadly, as much as John Lloyd and Bea are popular and profitable as a love team, they are unevenly matched in acting ability. Even if John Lloyd doesn't have the kind of bone structure that the camera loves, there's something about him that is subtly convincing that he's real and vulnerable. Unfortunately, Bea Alonzo (who is undoubtedly pretty) isn't as convincing. Perhaps she relies on her prettiness a little too much? Even when she's acting "crazy" (like crying on public transportation and tossing peanuts into her mouth also on public transportation), she's still just a pretty girl acting like a fool. (See the early work of Hilda Koronel if you want a beautiful girl with acting chops to match.)
I'm really not a huge fan of Star Cinema's movie titles, which inevitably use a super sappy song title as the movie's theme AND title. (It's about record sales for them because didn't Aiza Seguera and Erik Santos record the theme song and isn't it released on Star Records?) However, I appreciate their practice of casting amazing actors in supporting roles. Bembol Roco as Mia's invalid father will move you to tears by just lying there. The performances of Maricar Reyes, Jun Urbano, Noel Trinidad, and the Malaysian actor Gerald Hans Isaac are all assets for the movie. The third generation of the famous acting Mesa-Gil clan stand out, even in supporting roles the natural talent and good acting genes of cousins Ryan Eigenmann and Sid Lucero cannot be denied. My perpetual favorite Ketchup Eusebio also has a role as Mia's gay friend, and he does it with sensitivity and depth as always.
But I think the real credit should go to Cathy Garcia-Molina, director of Miss You Like Crazy. She pulled off the complicated blocking of a meeting-in-traffic scene–which entailed a kalesa horse pissing in the middle of Chinatown–and a fairly tasteful love scene set against the staircase of an old house. And while the inherent cheesiness of Miss You Like Crazy cannot be avoided (much like John Lloyd's Greenwich pizza) I must admit that in the end I was absorbed by this story about love and timing. Ever the optimist, I wanted the hero to end up with the girl. I mean, why not the happy ending? These days it is increasingly rare, almost mythical, but always possible in movies.
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