The Achy Break Hearts tells the story of Chinggay (Jodi Sta. Maria), a thirty-something lady bemoaning her apparent inability to settle down with a guy. It also doesn't help that her other relatives judge and ridicule her for it (based on the laughs in the theater, a relatable experience I guess). After a seven-year dry spell, she suddenly gets attention from two strapping beaus: Ryan (Ian Veneracion), her work client who just came from a relationship and Frank (Richard Yap), her long-time ex-boyfriend who cheated on her seven years ago. Will she choose the broken guy? or the guy who broke her heart?
I had low expectations from the movie given the template romcom premise and that the three main cast members were part of Jadaone's All You Need Is Pag-Ibig-- the director's weakest film in my book. But since it's a Jadaone film, I had to watch it. I cannot turn away from the director that shined the spotlight on Lilia Cuntapay and Brgy. Captain Boy English.
The film did not disappoint. It had the Tonette Tropes (see below) that I always welcome; but most especially, it had a strong message to say. Given the popularity of her films, Jadaone has the right platform and connection with her audience to impart wisdom on society's unfair expectation from Filipinas since time immemorial. Moreover, a round message such as what TABH has doesn't have a place in a square genre like the romcom. The romcom is an archaic genre of film. Its roots can be traced back to old Disney fairy tales wherein the female protagonist is swept by her prince to live happily ever after. A message like this doesn't have a place in a romcom film but somehow, Jadaone managed to fit it in.
And by managed to fit it in, I honestly meant that I don't know how it got there. The third act was messy especially when the characters started their exposition on their understanding of what love is. A character early in the movie professed adamantly that people should fight for their love, but would later leave this person's loved one because that's how this character understands "fighting for your love". I'm not sure how many mental flips you have to do to land that logic but "flight" is the direct opposite response of "fight".
But even with that muddled end game, overall, it was still a solid romcom with a strong statement. I still have to give props for that.
SHOUT OUTS, CALL OUTS AND WATCH OUTS:
- Shout out to Jodi Sta. Maria for really carrying the movie. She was evidently working on a different level. You know in wrestling when good established wrestlers like Chris Jericho have to carry and eventually lose in matches against new wrestlers to make the newbies look good (see jobbing)? That was basically Jodi Sta. Maria in this film. She had to work double, sometimes tripletime in scenes to make her two stiff beaus look good.
- Shout out to the condom jokes scene! I couldn't believe we have this on a mainstream film.
- Watch out for the role of onions in the movie
- Are onions also a metaphor for something? I'm not sure
- Shout out the original Beauty Gonzalez (Denise Joaquin) and the new Beauty Gonzales (Beauty Gonzalez) in one film!
- Shout out to the Donna Cruz reference
- Shout out to the OTWOL easter egg. I had to watch the Most Approved Kiss video on YouTube to confirm this.
- Use of animation to intro a film or episode: Not really animation but used toys and dolls for the intro. I'm not sure how you call this style but it's similar to Digital5's Dramalala style.
- Women's Issue Tackled: Society's judgement towards relatively old single ladies (also had a Single Ladies reference in the movie)
- Dan Villegas/Tonette Jadaone Stable of Actors Spotting: Ruby Ruiz (Ekstra, OTWOL), Phi Palmos (Always Be My Maybe, OTWOL)
- Sponsor Spotting: Anlene, Victoria Court, Jollibee and Jollibee Spaghetti, Primera Light Brandy, Flanax
- Most abrupt endorsement goes to Flanax, a sudden cut to the scene and wasn't clear who was the person that needed Flanax
- Runner-up award goes to Jollibee Spaghetti. Chinggay suddenly shared a fond moment with Jollibee Spaghetti
- Dan Villegas/Tonette Jadaone 80s - 90s Song Soundtrack: Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko by Bodjie Dasig
- Additional music: Sasakyan Kita by Gladys and The Boxers, One More Chance by Piolo Pascual (this song sucked so bad that Erik Santos' I'll Never Go became One More Chance the film's theme song)
- The Joem Bascon Award for Surprise Appearance In The Last 5 minutes Of The Movie: Michael Flores as the Singles For Christ guy of Desiree Del Valle and Bernard Palanca as Denise Joaquin's baby papa.