UNOFFICIALLY YOURS – Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake’s ‘Friends with Benefits’ is one of the bravest films of 2011 – it’s fun, bold, entertaining and raw. We love films that mirror the real drama and the real facts of life – we all like fairy-tale love stories but in this modern day and age, not all romance are based on what we read in the book – whether we admit or not, sex plays a vital role in every relationship nowadays and, more often than not, it becomes the key factor to make a relationship work. Without a shadow of a doubt, this film was Cathy Garcia-Molina’s inspiration when she created Unofficially Yours. And because Philippine cinema is not used to these type of movies, the audience were too curious about it, the steamy scenes spread like a virus and next thing we know, everyone’s hooked in this John Lloyd Cruz – Angel Locsin starrer.
Unofficially Yours is ‘Friends with Benefits’ or ‘No Strings Attached’ given a Filipino flavour. It’s definitely an adult material but not overly obscene. Apart from the unique concept (at least for the Filipino viewing public), the core strength of this film lies in its lead casts. We all love Angel Locsin – beauty and talent in one – in this movie, Angel showed us her different side, the wilder ‘Angel’ that is far from what we see in her TV series. Angel’s acting in this picture wasn’t her best but she managed to gave justice to the role that was entrusted to her. The attitude is there but you wouldn’t really think Angel would be like that in real life (the likes of Anne Curtis or Angelica Panganiban would have been better choices) – she has a very innocent face which makes it a bit awkward to watch her doing ‘it’ with John Lloyd Cruz. And speaking of JLC, it is very refreshing to see him in a whole new different set-up – far from his boy-next-door or hopeless romantic image (although you could still see touches of those characterization). There were not a lot of opportunities for him to showcase his best asset – his acting prowess. The approach was very light and I think Garcia-Molina’s aim was to reinvent JLC and show his ‘cheeky’ side – it did work but the latter part of the film kind of brought him back to the JLC we used to see in his previous films with Bea Alonzo. The supporting cast are okay – not sure why they’ve actually given Yayo Aguila’s daughters those roles (as JLC’s sisters) – they need A LOT of acting lessons and it made JLC scenes (where they’re in it) uninteresting and dragging. Not a lot of to talk about in terms of the technical side of the film. The editing is good – cinematography, production design and make-up – average (nothing stand out IMO).
I admire the bravery of Star Cinema to bring the Filipino audience something ‘out of the box’ and far from the typical rom-coms that we’ve seen but I personally don’t think the finished product conveyed the ‘real message’ they wanted to get across. Much that they’ve tried to come up with a sexy-comedy-romance film, the typical Filipino ingredients were still there and it wasn’t as contemporary as I thought it would be. I was slightly disappointed as I think the film lost the plot right in the middle and because it was struggling to revive the ‘new’ formula they’ve been bragging about, they ended up biting on the traditional Pinoy drama – overused and boring. It is a good film overall but do not expect too much when you see it – not as quality and as liquid as ‘Friends with Benefits’ – it tried hard though.