Unbox Rating: 1/5
This year’s recipient of “Best Picture” from the, uh, prestigious Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is also one that I consider to be a disservice to the Filipino Audience as well as a testament to the lack of proper film appreciation caused by BOTH the audience and film makers of movies like this. One More Try is pretty much a bastardized version of 2008’s Chinese drama “In Love We Trust”. Rather than uplift the industry by creating a film that provides an amazingly compelling story that would generate thought-provoking conversations, One More Try is an ugly mesh of poor storytelling, lazy plot development, and horrendous script-writing that was rolled up and sold to the public by wrapping it in layers of clichés that they knew would sell. If anything, the movie demonstrates – both IN and OUT of the silver screen – the travesty of how there are things in this world that undeservingly gets rewarded.
Synopsis (from Wikipedia)
Grace (Angel Locsin) is a single mother who is willing to sacrifice everything to save her ill son. All seems well in Grace’s life, especially with the comfort of her son Botchok (Miguel Vergara) and her boyfriend Tristan (Zanjoe Marudo) who is supporting her. But when Botchok’s rare blood condition becomes severe, Grace is left with no other option but to reconnect with Botchok’s biological father, Edward (Dingdong Dantes) who is an accomplished man married with a successful career woman Jacqueline (Angelica Panganiban).
All Grace asks from Edward is to help her save their son, Botchok. Edward is initially hesitant but Jacqueline allowed him because she’s unable to give what her husband really want, a child. The process of curing Botchok is starting to taint their happy relationships, for unwanted feelings in the past start to resurface. Until eventually all other options fail except only for one — a biological sibling to Grace’s son, who must be naturally conceived.
Not Everything that Glitters is Gold
In this case apparently, not everything that wins awards and that sells is gold. One More Try is riddled with so much failure that Sisterakas comes out to be the stronger film out of the two top grossers by a mile.
The main downfall of One More Try is that it decided to be flashy rather than be brilliant. Instead of developing the plot properly, the producers chose to just showcase catty lines, overly dramatic shouting matches, and crying… a lot of crying. This caused the focus of the 1st part to shift from finding proper solutions to save the little boy to the characters just trying to one-up each other so they can have extra-marital sex “to save a child’s life”. Did you also notice that ever since the film started to roll the music never stopped? As if the overbearing acting isn’t enough to convince you of the film’s drama, the music seems to have been designed to constantly remind you that “Hey, this is such an emotional film! Please cry. Please?” As I said, flashy rather than brilliant.
Every scene where they were trying to be emotional becomes such a desperate act to convince the audience again and again of what they are doing. In fact, out of the whole film, there’s only one scene where the emotions came across as genuine –the time when Grace broke down to a stoic Jacq after her son was rushed to the hospital. Most of the other developments, however, are just utterly and stupidly unrealistic. Heck, the scientific process of finding a cure for Botchok has been hastily dismissed by an over-the-top-obsessive doctor (Carmina Villaroel) who kept on insisting (in front of the wife even) that Angel and Dingdong do the nasty. “It’s the best option”. This doctor should be immediately disbarred.
Reaping Undeserved Rewards
This is the moral of the story both inside and outside the film. Considering all my aforementioned points, it’s a joke that One More Try won “Best Picture”. Acting wise, while I will give props to Angelica Panganiban and Angel Locsin, I have no idea how Dingdong Dantes could ever bag the “Best Actor” Award. Vice Ganda had a better shot at nabbing it! Seriously! Dingdong demonstrates that he’s a one-trick pony that can blurt out rehearsed line after rehearsed line and look good while doing so. This breaks any sincerity when he says his lines. Truth be told, for such a heavy character, I would have given the part to someone who’s more adept in playing character-roles like Jericho Rosales (who is considered to be a great method actor according to people in the industry). On the other hand, such acting prowess can only do so much with a sloppy script.
In the story, the movie also demonstrates undeserved / unrealistic resolution. While In Love We Trust’s story plants itself deep in the character’s realities by making sure that each action they do has corresponding consequences, One More Try’s story ends where everything is resolved and everyone is happy. The moral dilemma that was being discussed and thrown around had no bearing whatsoever. Suddenly, the magic wand of cinema said “Lo and behold, because thou hast committed adultery to save a child thou shalt be granted respite and thy relationship with all people shall be fixed!” And it was so. Magically. And people loved it. 🙁
More Harm than Good
It saddens me that people loved it but can I blame them completely? Not really. I called this movie a disservice to the audience because it’s a movie that chose to earn from rather than enrich the industry. These guys knew that the victim mentality / extra-marital sex angle / magic happy ending resolution would sell and they used it as an excuse to just stick with that rather than create a really good movie WORTHY of appreciation and this seems to be the story for every MMFF. If the box office results are any indication, it clearly means that we are light years away from ever producing quality commercial films and that the Filipino public isn’t ready for films that provoke any sort of critical thinking.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxpLI_AidwI]