Spunky Gara (Maine Mendoza) admits she has tough luck when it comes to her love and life. Her potential boyfriend came out of the closet and, for reasons not cleared in the movie, she also had to leave her family to work in Italy as a housekeeper and dog walker. Bad luck seems to follow her to Italy as she meets Andrew (Alden Richards), a brooding guy who's probably suffering from untreated PTSD after his dad died in a car accident and his proposal rejected by her girlfriend, Isay (Jasmine Curtis-Smith). After starting off on the wrong foot, they eventually fall for each other. Will Gara's self-fulfilling prophesizing get in between her and Andrew?
Imagine You & Me was okay. It had the Kalyeserye callbacks from the dubsmashing, the pabebe wave, the splitscreen romance and the lines ("grabe siya", "Regine! woooo!"). It surprised me that these references were smoothly inserted in the movie and weren't abrupt as they were in My Bebe Love. Photography was well thought out more than the usual GMA film (my previous experience were from MMFF films). They had a lovely tracking shot in the early part of the movie that was a good translation of their split screen style to film.
Although what was off-putting was how the writers had to include all the possible melodramatic tropes in the movie. Stepson hates his stepmother? check. A "mahirap man ako pero hindi ako magnanakaw" monologue? check. Drunk videoke? check. The confide something while the other person's drunk or sleeping? check. A car accident? check. I have no issues with using tropes. They make it easier for viewers to establish a connection with the movie; helping in setting up the possible permutations of events that can happen in the movie. But using tropes just to have drama doesn't cut it for me.
What was the purpose of Gara getting hit by a car at the end of the movie? Car accidents in pinoy movies are used to enact a change of heart in a character. It's basically: "dapat patawarin mo na siya dahil pwedeng mamatay siya". In the movie, Andrew was already all-in on Gara. Did we really need that scene
Also off-putting was Gara's decision in the end. The movie could have been 30mins shorter if she just decided to be mum about Isay being in Italy. She rationalized that her decision to meddle in the lives of Andrew and Isay was for their own good. But was it really for them or just so she can continue her "malas sa lovelife" narrative? Andrew and Isay were already done with their romance! Isay wanted to die alone. Gara already cured Andrew's PTSD with her energy! Wala nang kokontra! But she just couldn't help but self-destruct. And just to add, forcing a trauma survivor to revisit their trauma is so unnecessary.
But overall, it was an okay try for a first movie. It had high-level production value, strong supporting cast but muddled by story decisions. It reminded me of how the first full-length John Lloyd-Bea film was also just okay. It doesn't stand out compared to the other films they had afterwards. Again, it's good that they started on the right footing. Just a few more reps and they might eventually hit their own One More Chance.
Shout Outs, Call Outs and Watch Outs:
- Unrelated to the film,shout out to the new anti-piracy video. I loved that Dan Villegas/Tonet Jadaone troupe mainstays like Jerald Napoles, Nico Antonio, Ruby Ruiz and Bebeng (can't find her real name!)
- Shout out to Como, Italy. Whoever thought of shooting the film there was a genius
- Shout out to Cai Cortez and Kakai Bautista playing good cop and bad cop to Maine's Gara
- Shout out for including Mojofly's "Mata" in their soundtrack
- Spotted Sponsors: Magnolia, McDonald's, Nescafe, O+. To be fair, McDonald's was the only overt placement there.
- What's with Gara's dog analogies when talking with Isay? Is it because Isay loves dogs? I dunno, it was just odd.