With: Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta
7 months in 2014, I finally watched my first ever Pinoy film of the year. LOL. Some people are probably going to hate me for this fact. But I never want to be a film snob, especially films of my own country. Although it's true that I pick the films I'm going to spend money on. Who doesn't?
I pick what I think is good, what I heard or read is good, but at the end of the day, I follow my interests and preferences. She's Dating The Gangster, DEFINITELY not my cup of tea. At my age, who doesn't get irritated by extremely cheesy young love matched with noisy fans screaming their hearts out whenever a cheesy scene is on screen? Okay, it's probably okay for some, or for you, and I like to think I tolerate these people too because the hilarity trumps irritation when it happens nowadays, not only for this movie, *cough* TFIOS. But still, I think I'm too old and cranky for those stuff.
Or probably NOT. So before I get overly defensive, let me share my thoughts on She's Dating The Gangster.
So I never intended to watch this, but after a good dinner at 'Project Pie' my friends convinced me to see it with them. They treated me just so according to them I wouldn't blame them if the movie sucks balls. :3 Plus, with a couple of good words from different social media and the fact that it's directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina (One More Chance, Laida-Miggy trilogy), go treat me like a puppet on a string.
It started okay, hmm rather annoying -- heavily unsynchornized dubbing, uber-fake background sounds, product advertisements everywhere, and The Explosion of the Wig Factory. It's crazy but 15 minutes in when I found myself hooked. It's not as annoying as the first couple of minutes anymore, and since then I never looked back and ate everything up. I didn't swallow some because there are still lots of ridiculousness but it's not too shabby for me, and I even quite enjoyed them.
It just shows that Director Cathy Garcia-Molina controlled this film that I think she knows that it's going to be cheesy and that she had to fulfill Star Cinema requirements and requests, but she owned up to it and she catered what the masses want and the result was good. After all, this is a film that's made for the fans of this genre, fans of the book where the film is adapted and for the fans of 'Kathniel'.
To me, it seemed like Garcia-Molina put all the advertisements at the beginning to make room for a better adaptation of the story for the rest of the film. She's also successful in capturing a melancholic vibe that the story requires despite the hilar cheesy moments in the middle. The narrative is where the fun's at because it's not the usual linear love story.
The movie jumps in between two generations: one being the present time and the other is the early 90's which explains the weird fashion and gangsters we all saw in the movie poster and the trailer. It's fun to see the world of 90's according to Garcia-Molina that it may be too exaggerated sometimes, but I guess it's better to amplify than to play down.
'KathNiel' fans will surely like this. Heck, I'm not even a KathNiel fan but they managed to make themselves likable even for the cynics. I didn't follow their previous pairings but my friend told me that Daniel Padilla improved and not cringe-worthy anymore even though his character screams otherwise. Kathryn Bernardo on the other hand is undeniable. Portraying two different characters in one movie and was successful in making both adorable yet unique at the same time. I also like how it has a lot of cameos, from Rio Locsin, to Ian Veneracion, to the legendary Niño Muhlach. LOL what's not to love?
It is more than a typical teeny-bopper film and more than a love story too. In the beginning, it was emphasized that "there's a greater force than love and it is time", and it was well-explained in this film. The shot of Mt. Mayon is so inspired.
There is a decent amount of things to appreciate in this film if you just ignore its technical failings. Now if you're planning to watch it, believe the hype, don't expect too much and just accept the good things it has to offer.