Philippine Daily Inquirer
Portrait of fated lovers as irresponsible amnesiacs
On the plus side, the latest Daniel Padilla-Kathryn Bernardo rom-com, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Mae Cruz-Alviar, helps the popular couple sustain its “maturing” process, casting them in roles that require them to go beyond “kilig value,” and opt for more complex character, plot and theme development.
Given the screen love team’s popularity and influence, the extra effort as the stars slide into their 20s is a good and even necessary gambit, so kudos for the step-up move.
On the other hand, the laudable effort has been compromised by scripting quirks and quibbles that occasionally raise viewers’ eyebrows—and keep them in arch, questioning suspension!
Some problems: Daniel and Kathryn don’t know each other, but at an “event” involving a mayor (Zanjoe Marudo), they both dance and booze up a storm—and end up—instantly married to each other (courtesy of the similarly inebriated and wacko mayor)!
That sounds like a potential- ly promising albeit wildly crazy plot premise—but, the way it’s developed raises more questions than much-needed answers:
First, after recovering from their humongous hangovers, it appears that both Kathryn and Daniel promptly forget about the instant “wedlock”—until the marriage certificate arrives later, just as Kathryn is about to get engaged to her BF of six years (Matteo Guidicelli).
Naturally, that throws a huge wrench into Kathryn’s new marital plans, which is why she moves heaven and earth to locate Daniel and get their instant wedlock—unlocked!
Later, of course, they realize that they’re actually meant for each other, so they end up letting Fated Love take its course, as it does so often in local “fan- tasy love” flicks.
But, is that all there is to it? Do viewers just sappily ride along with the “crazy” and “fantasy” proceedings? Sadly, all those unanswered questions get in the way of the empathetic storytelling, and viewers wake up all too soon—with a thud.
First, the fact that the leads get roaring drunk, instantly married and promptly forget all about it says a whole lot about them as people.
The film takes time to characterize Daniel and Kathryn as loving and lovable individuals who are doted on by their respective families. But, if they’re such blithe and irresponsible drunkards and “donker-donker” instant amnesiacs—what’s there to love?!
To be able to come up with a wild and crazy plot concept, the production compromises its protagonists too much to still “deserve” viewers’ attention and empathy.
They’re made to behave so crazily and irresponsibly that all self-protective people should avoid them like the plague!
Other negative consequences born out of excessive eccentricity abound, pulling the film further downwards. That’s a pity, because the leads do have occasional “moments” in which they stretch their thespic horizons to some extent.
But, their characters’ basic “craziness” is too huge a flaw to mitigate against. So, the otherwise creditable “young-adulting” gambit has to be deemed a failure due to faulty scripting.