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‘Can This Be Love’ Film Review: The u-belt flick

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Can This Be Love movie review

“Can This Be Love” is a simple romantic tale capitalizing on the charm of one of the most popular love teams in the country to date — Hero Angeles and Sandara Park. In this movie, they are two very different people who prove that love can bloom amidst cultural differences. In a larger scope, it offers a gist of the economic issues that push the young Filipinos to find greener pasture elsewhere in the globe.

This rom-com flick features a very traditional story where a foreigner finds it hard to adjust to life in another country and gets branded as a weirdo along the way; while the local guy is a working student who struggles to finish school.

The story exposes the lives of University Belt (U-belt) students. Ryan (Hero Angeles) is taking up nursing and he does part-time work as a term paper typist. Like the mentality of most people in contemporary Philippines, he has a clear goal to leave the country to work abroad and become financially stable. Meanwhile, Daisy (Sandara Park) is a Korean exchange student who comes to the Philippines to study English. One day, Ryan gets to work on the worst term paper ever written entitled “What is Wrong With Filipinos?” Ryan gets pissed with both the countless grammatical errors and the nasty words used against Filipinos by an annoying Korean stranger. It turns out that the Korean he hates so much is the same girl he starts texting quite dearly after a cellphone-buying negotiation.

The ironic thing for the two is that their sweet friendship starts blossoming while they are textmates, then the aggravation for the term paper issue increases further — until he discovers that the girl who has become his interesting textmate and the owner of the rude term paper is the Korean girl Daisy. From here, their cultural differences and the language barrier they have to contend with pave way to their bonding, their realizations, and their more open and mature minds.

The romantic scenes clearly feed the fans with the “kilig moments” they often seek for. The song-and-dance numbers rendered as comic relief to the story reflect the vibe of 1980s movies.

The many close-up shots give ample facial expressions on screen, which helps carry a more intimate feel to the scenes. However, the editing is not always seamless. At times, the scenes drag, especially when the characters’ lines become too verbose.

Supporting actor Roderick Paulate is worth mentioning, as he keeps the story’s momentum through his powerful delivery of comic lines.

At times, the make-up of actresses’ Park and Roxanne Guinoo get too heavy and quite distracting on screen. Even the make-up of actor Angeles end up too heavy for a guy’s onscreen look. There’s too much lipstick and foundation, which at times are not even on his face and neck.

A number of sponsors have very noticeable appearances throughout the movie. Most are Park’s various endorsements, followed by those from Angeles, Guinoo, and Joross Gamboa. Amidst adding such elaborate advertising details, the production ignores the flaws in simple plot details such as Daisy’s really bulky pieces of luggage being easily transported to the cab, as if they don’t have anything inside.

The idea of coming up with scrapbooks for the time lapse of the future years in the lives of Ryan and Daisy turns out appealing for the movie’s intended market. However, this doesn’t visually empower the main conflict of the narrative. The story has no clear climax, amidst being a picture set up with a very mainstream structure. The ending feeds the viewers with the finished product right away with no hurdles or struggles to spice up the storytelling for that sweeter, more fulfilling end.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne Hill Soriano is a freelance production artist working as a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. 
http://www.riannehillsoriano.com
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