Review: Jerome Pobocan's BORN TO LOVE YOU
Jerome Pobocan's Born to Love You is hardly anything special. A weepy romance with bits of comedy sprinkled sparingly all throughout, the film aspires nothing but mediocrity. It is plotted awkwardly. The story, about an angst-ridden photographer (Coco Martin) who suddenly falls for a tour guide (Angeline Quinto) while wrestling with issues regarding his family, is stretched via convolutions and coincidences that both arrive out of and lead to nowhere. The pleasures it provides are but momentary, barely enough to repay the superhuman endurance that it asks to be invested.
As just another one of those run-of-the-mill romances that Star Cinema churns out for a quick buck, it bears the same problems as those that came before it that left no dent on the genre they represent or the market they aspire to exploit. It lacks any real sense of imagination or ambition, confident that its captured audience made up of the collected fans of its recently glammed leads would rush to spend their money to watch their idols in the big screen. It is utterly formulaic, moving from one scene to another like the daily turnover of episodes of a rushed melodrama.
The film's predictable offenses are only compounded by its use of tasteless music, mostly repetitive rearrangements of the karaoke hit I Just Fall in Love Again, that succeeds only to annoy instead of to provide the necessary dramatic push that the film tries so hard to sell. Born to Love You utilizes every trick known in the trade, every trope that has been used and reused. Despite that, the film only succeeds to reveal how tired the genre is, how burdened each and every film that spurts out of the tried and tested formula to bring something new.
Martin makes most of his role. The actor, whose successful transition from being the aptly anonymous face of most of Brillante Mendoza's portraits of Philippine poverty into the capable darling of the mainstream has compromised his craft, succeeds in exuding an imagined depth to a depthless character, especially in the quieter moments as opposed to where he is forced to deliver dialogue. Quinto, on the other hand, provides much-needed levity to Martin's trademark brooding with infrequent self-deprecating jokes coupled with shrill side remarks. Still, despite the attempt at balancing seriousness and comedy with the casting, the proposed chemistry fails.
Pobocan and the film's team of writers are at fault here. The stage and story they built for the love team are drab and ridiculous, respectively. The film forgoes both logic and lyricism for cheap romantic conclusions that seek to tie loose ends with the least amount of creativity. The film's soap opera mentality is more problematic because it forwards a brand of romance, one that is dangerously intertwined with familial dilemmas, that exists within a vacuum, within a universe where acts of God and misfortunes exist only to dictate lessons and inflict changes for the supposed better.
(Cross-published in Lessons from the School of Inattention.)
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