[ Am not sure if watching a grand total of one Piolo Pascual movie previously (Starting Over Again with Toni Gonzaga) and watching Sarah Geronimo cry over an audition during The Voice Philippines blind auditions qualifies me to review the first ever Piolo – Sarah G movie, but the latter was the highlight of the day, in fact of the week, so I didn’t hesitate. ]
EXPECTEDLY, the movie starts with the breakup. Sigawan, sumbatan, sisihan, the three S’s of Philippine drama, and the protagonist couple physically and emotionally break up. The rest of the movie is a buildup towards the eventual reconciliation and reunion of the protagonist couple which as you know in Pinoy movies is a must, because a happy ending is the only ending possible.
Except that the breakup scene isn’t the real (sequential) start of the movie, as the film traces the long and winding road that leads to the defining moment of The Breakup Playlist, a surefire box office tsunami back home, & shown in Wellington as a project of three fundraisers, good for them.
In fairness, the plotline is realistic and credible : Piolo’s character, lead vocalist of an up-and-coming band, discovers Sarah’s character in a singing workshop for raw singing talents. They feel each other out, musically, professionally and emotionally, until Piolo convinces Sarah to leave her law school studies and join him in what turns out to be a breakout, career-making teamup for them in the form of Pencil Grip, the band with no limits in terms of fans and success.
Happy ending, right? Alas, it’s only 45 minutes into the movie. The green-eyed monster better known as professional jealousy creeps in. Naiinggit si Piolo sa creative input ni Sarah, and eventually he cuts short what he fears will be his absorption by Sarah’s brilliance. Human nature makes you side with Sarah, because Piolo is so mean to her during the pre-breakup scenes. But the rational side in you says : Teka muna, tama naman si Piolo, nalulunok na sya sa impending stardom ni Sarah.
But just to make things clearer, Piolo becomes the temporary kontrabida so he can work his way back to Sarah’s heart. You know the pattern : Couple falls in love, couple falls out of love, and couple rediscovers the things that made them fall in love in the first place, and (sigh) fall in love again. Predictable, but it still works.
The whole movie is a metaphor for a smartphone or laptop playlist that has become oh-so-ubiquitous in today’s handheld world. Each segment represents a song : The Breakup, The Reunion, What Led to the Breakup, etc. etc.
Except that there is really no song, except the Yeng Constantino ballad (Paano Ba Ang Magmahal) that in the story is the composition that brings the two bidas into unprecedented heights and is actually a symbol of their breakup and reconciliation.
So, it’s tried-and-tested formula of perfect love team challenging the world and themselves, tried-and-tested formula of decent acting that although not great delivers the goods; tried-and-tested formula of soundtrack supporting the tearjerker lovefest (Kitchie Nadal, Eraserheads, and of course, Yeng Constantino hits), and the tried-and-tested formula of two icons of Pinoy movies that on their own have never produced anything less than a mega blockbuster. How could they, as a symbiotic pair, not combine to produce an even more explosive hit at takilya?
You get the answer, as I did, only by watching the movie. I’m not embarrassed to say that as a middle-aged Pinoy grandad- to-be, kinilig ako. Was entertained too, by the way.
PS. Sorry to add this, but watching Piolo’s acting, you almost forget that at the very least, he is very likely bisexual. I know I did. :)