"Para sa lahat ng nagmahal sa kanilang best friend."
To Love Some Buddy boasts of a tagline that's just hugot rephrased, tackling the age-old debate of whether a man and a woman can be just friends or there's something that can really happen once they cross the line together. More important, this Maja Salvador and Zanjo Marudo starrer is a film that answers back with, "Walang sagot sa tanong, kung bakit ka mahalaga...’ (Well, I just really put that bit in to make you sing along!). So, how good is this feel-good romcom, really?
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First off, I loved how gago this film is and how it did not hold back in its campiness and absurdity at times. Sure, it’s a romcom, but it sets itself apart from the pack by its quirky dream sequences, and lines that would make you think to yourself, "Oh no they didn’t!" (but, yes, they did!) and offbeat situations that seem to have not been done on film. At the same time, it stays true and grounded and still feels all real and authentic with the emotions it tries to convey. It’s a rare balance that’s quite a challenge to achieve and Director Jason Paul Laxamana has succesfully done this for the film. +3
Maja shines yet again as Faith, an underachiever whose biggest fear is becoming a nobody, a character that a lot of millennials and even the younger generation will definitely find very relatable. Her chemistry with Julius (Zanjoe) as "best dudes" is so believable, dispelling the myth that men and women cannot have such a cool platonic relationship. But then again, they still went the usual route. And there, surfaces the problem. The dynamic of their relationship changes and as an audience you can really feel this conflict brewing thanks to Maja’s acting chops, complemented of course by her co-star. +2
Zanjoe as Julius is a character that any-buddy (guy and girl) would love to be besties with. Carefree, easygoing, so much fun to be with, with the usual angst against society’s usual expectations, but then commitment comes into the picture. Is he really ready to live up to its demands? His is a character that will make you rethink where you are right now in your life and becomes somewhat an inspiration, depending on what point you’re at right now. Zanjoe embodies Julius perfectly and this is the best of what I’ve seen of his works yet. +2
Then there’s Maja’s karaoke scene. I won’t spoil what song she sings her heart out to, but it is hi-lar-ious! One of the film’s highlights, for sure! +1
There’s also the pwet joke you have to watch, though it’s already pretty memorable and stems from a habit of the couple where they objectify strangers passing by. I have to admit, I used to do this with an ex of mine, coincidentally with the same name and she was the coolest 'cause we could talk about girls without her getting offended and vice versa. This part, personally, is very relatable! Now I wonder if there are a lot who can relate to this, too, or wish they had this level of comfortability with their S.O. +2
Another one of my favorite scenes is that sexy action sequence. Yes, there is one in this romcom involving Maja and another chick in her bare essentials. It was so awesome, I did not want it to end. +3
The OST is love. It also puts Sud’s massive hit "Sila" in a new light and I’m predicting this song will have a second wind, much like what happened to Ben&Ben’s "Maybe The Night" for Exes Baggage. Now the song is my current LSS and the scenes in the film play in my head whenever I hear it. +2
The cinematography, though! Director of Photography Carlos Mauricio also did the lighting for Exes Baggage and his work there was deliciously concise. I’m not sure which he shot first between the two films, but I’m guessing it’s this film—though, his lighting and camera work in this one ain’t too shabby at all. I appreciate his use of practical light transitions and though imperfect at times, it still does the trick. There are also a lot of camera movements that are slickly executed aside from the nifty use of haze. Some parts though are just a little too smoky, like in Julius’ pad as if he just finished frying his breakfast. I call Carlos a rising star, though, that I’m sure a lot of other directors would love to work with in the future, including myself! +2
As I mentioned earlier, the film tackles the fear of being nobody and though it may seem sweet at first that Julius and Faith just wanted to eff the world and be nobodies together, maturity sets in with the realization that we can’t all be Peter Pans in life. It poses the question of how much of yourself are you willing to change to make a relationship work. So, I guess this film ain’t all about just being gago after all. +3
Lastly, the film maintains its tone, never erring on the side of melodrama or theatrics and will make you hurt at some very calculated moments without even trying. There is just a bit there that reminds me too much of La La Land, but that sad ramen part is what really strikes me the most inevitably bringing tears to the rest of the audience! +2
These 22 points will all make much more sense when you get to catch To Love Some Buddy the second offering of Black Sheep and so far, I’m loving the slate of films that this groundbreaking new Star Cinema arm has been producing.
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Photos courtesy of Black Sheep PH and Metro.Style