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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sex With Your Ex, MMFF Style

That is essentially the conflict in the first film I saw from the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival, One More Try. (Do not go further than this sentence if you don't want spoilers.)

A happy ending?
(Courtesy of

Of course, it isn't that simple: Grace (Angel Locsin) was impregnated by Edward (Dingdong Dantes) on a Baguio tryst, even while he was in a relationship with Jacqueline (Angelica Panganiban). Grace, who is now seeing Tristan (Zanjoe Marudo), has to go down to Manila after "5 or 6 years" to seek the bone marrow of the child's father to arrest the disease of her son. Unfortunately, Edward's bone marrow doesn't help.

The obstetrician-gynecologist doctor, played by Carmina Villaroel, gives them two other options, without disguising her preference: they could (1) do in vitro fertilization, with Grace's egg and Edward's sperm or (2) Grace can just have sex with Edward, the end goal being to get the bone marrow of the baby to come.

I can hear Charlotte from Sex And The City going these are the options?!?

Quite an unfair and impossible situation, which demands vast reserves of emotional empathy and acting prowess from the protagonists, so this is where the film is a letdown for me.

Dingdong, particularly, does not display the emotional depth required for this role, so it is with much surprise that I heard that he won as the festival's Best Actor this year. I have seen his brand of acting, which basically consists of him brooding in a singular expression. He carries this same ability in the film, and often in various "comtemplating" poses along the terrace of their house, or a seaside resort.

Angel and Angelica are the ones who portray the film's more "anticipated" scenes. Understandably so, since Grace has to beg for Jacqueline's permission to sleep with her husband, purely for humanitarian reasons, you understand. What I found most unfortunate was the predictable descent into the sabunutan/sampalan (hair pulling/slapping) scene, in a public place, that would lead to an accident with Grace's successful pregnancy, and a bloodied leg that would see everyone's conflicts be neatly resolved in a hospital ward.

Zanjoe is the surprise in this film: as the outsider who has no direct ties to the main conflict - in fact, midway through the film Grace "dispatches" him and thanks him for his time - he portrays quite convincingly the feeling of helplessness one has when being thrown in a situation of not one's choosing but with the capacity to affect you and effect changes in your life. Here he was, happily settled in with Grace in Baguio, even accepting Grace's child openly, when the curveball that hits his relationship will see to its' conclusion. (More spoiler alert: Grace and Tristan have a happy ending, as does everyone in the film.)

The characters of Agot Isidro and Gina Parreno were, quite frankly, unnecessary, as the story would have continued without them in the film, although I had to chuckle when Gina advises her daughter to remember that there should be "No Tresspassing!" when you go to someone else's, er, garden.

The scene that was most memorable to me was when the three protagonists agreed to the "sex with my husband" scheme, and Jacqueline proceeds to butter up Edward and when he gets all fired up, Grace, who has been waiting in the adjacent hotel room (with a common door connecting them), then enters to, uhm, finish the job.

No one seems satisfied, not Edward, not Grace, and most especially not Jacqueline who has to hear the grand finale from the next room.

Which is also the general feeling I got after seeing the film: the dilemma had so much promise for great acting, and the three leads fell short of what could have been a memorable film. It really did leave you feeling one thing:



  1. Thanks for the tip off, I always interchange their names, I made the correction thanks to you :)

  2. Thanks for the spoilers, I love them. I see movie lines haven't changed much, but there are new interesting twists to old love stories. Personally, the hubby and I look forward to watching El Presidente.

    1. I tried to look for El Presidente and Thy Womb at my usual haunts, and they are not screening these two films :( good thing you are ok with spoilers, I'm the same way. I think I will catch the box office hit next, as the subject of my next post :D

  3. Zanjoe's acting was really a surprise. I mean, he outdid the three leads who had YEARS more experience then him.

    Another thing, there was this thought that kept running through my head during the movie:

    ***warning! dirty content up ahead.***

    If they had had a foursome, it would really have spiced up their sex life as well as gotten the job done. And it would have probably cemented their friendship much faster. (wink, wink)

    1. Agree on all points. Even the *dirty* one, haha. :)

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