Dear future rom-coms,
You can do better than Theodore Boborol’s Finally Found Someone. I hope you at least try.
I am not claiming that Boborol’s film is a joyless affair. In fact, there are plenty of pleasures in the reasonably predictable romance of Aprilyn (Sarah Geronimo), the abandoned bride of a mayor’s son, and Raffy (John Lloyd Cruz), the PR guy hired to fix the public perception of the witless groom whose been regarded with disdain by a public that’s been fed by viral videos of Aprilyn desperately clinging to her failed wedding. (WATCH: Full trailer of John Lloyd Cruz, Sarah G film 'Finally Found Someone')
What I am claiming is that Finally Found Someone is so reliant on elements that have always worked that it feels like it is on auto-pilot, adamant in its refusal to stray from the tried-and-tested path that provides certain but disposable entertainment.
The romantic team-up of Geronimo and Cruz has lasted through a trilogy. They have seen them get past the awkward phase of being in the middle of a relationship that bridges social status and corporate structures in A Very Special Love (2008), survive the test of maintaining the romance amidst their individual careers in You Changed My Life (2009), and still end up with each other despite a very rocky break-up in It Takes a Man and a Woman (2013). In other words, both Geronimo and Cruz have undeniable chemistry, whether or not they’re flirting, fighting, or resisting the urge to commit to an onscreen kiss.
Finally Found Someone does not try anything new to give another facet to the pairing. Both Geronimo and Cruz are still convincing as lovers going through the ups and downs of a seemingly impossible romance. Sadly, given that they and the entire movie they're in are all refurbished commodities, their efforts are all wasted for erstwhile thrills.
Futile and foolish
Is it futile and foolish to expect novelty and anything other than shallow fun from a genre that thrives in shallowly repeating the value of romantic love?
However, if the lack of originality is so apparent and obvious that a lot of the prolonged scenes start to feel redundant in its deadened effort to promote surface-level love through shticks, gimmicks and swoony one-liners, then the film becomes more a product of corporate profiteering than any artistic endeavor. It is essentially an empty production, a film whose aims at entertaining is part and parcel of business efficiency. It is riskless, and in turn, has become quite exhausting even if some parts of it work in a purely facile level.
It isn’t entirely alien to rom-coms to genuinely surprise while still adhering to formula. In fact, Boborol has done it before in Vince & Kath & James (2016), a film that worked precisely because its introduction of teenage actors Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto as a couple in a story that overtly mirrors Got 2 Believe (2002) feels refreshing.
Finally Found Someone is just bereft of surprises. It goes through the motions of each and every rom-com like an obedient slave to a master, fearful that every attempt to stray out of the course would lead to irreparable damage. Instead of being witty about its clutch on formula the way Vince & Kath & James did, it used it as a crutch to veil perhaps its complacency and laziness with the undefeatable purpose of escapism.
A little bit more effort
I did enjoy this, believe me. I just felt that its delights wouldn’t last. It is ultimately forgettable, especially with such that indistinct title snatched from the Bryan Adams and Barbara Streisand duet that can easily be mixed with all other rom-coms whose titles were culled from decades-old love songs. All it takes is a little bit more effort and risk to make the joys stay a little bit longer, and for me to keep my patience.
Still, thank you for the fun, no matter how fleeting.
Sincerely, Your still hopeful future viewer. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.