Panoorin ang ‘Relaks, It’s Just Pag-ibig’ kung teenager ka dahil ganito dapat ang love na nae-experience mo: feel-good, may kaunting kilig, pero mostly parang adventure. Kung ‘di ka na bata okay pa rin panoorin; baka may mapulot ka pa ring aral that you may have lost somewhere along the way.
SYNOPSIS: An unlikely pair of teenagers—free-spirited Sari (Sofia Andres) and spoiled rich kid playboy Josh (Inigo Pascual)—embark on a trip to Leyte to catch the next blue moon. For Sari, the next blue moon may also reveal the ending of the love story of Elias and Salome, the two people in a love letter she found one year ago.
GENRE: Romance, Comedy
DIRECTORS & STORY: Antoinette Jadaone, Irene Villamor
CAST: Inigo Dominic Pascual | Julian Estrada | Sofia Andres | Alessandra de Rossi | Peque Gallaga | Earl Ignacio | Cheska Litton | Pia Magalona | Smokey Manaloto | Piolo Pascual | Erica Villongco
Director Antoinette Jadaone (Beauty in a Bottle, That Thing Called Tadhana) dedicates her latest film Relaks, It’s Just Pag-ibig to “true love”. As to what really is this “true love” is a journey—both literally and figuratively—the film embarks on, with satisfying results.
It begins with a montage of messages of love in various forms and for different types of people: in posts in Facebook and Twitter; in telegram, email, and text messages; and in a good old-fashioned handwritten love letter. It is meant to establish the idea that true love also manifests in various ways: between lovers, among family members, and among friends. It then zooms in on a particular letter written by “Elias” to “Salome”, whose unfinished love story becomes the obsession of Sari (Sofia Andres), who then forces Josh (Inigo Pascual) to tag along with her in a road-tripping adventure to Leyte.
The movie is intelligent. Any movie that references—and educates the audience about—the lost of chapter of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere automatically gets brownie points; more so that these characters/aliases serve as the main plot point. Its intelligence also shows in the fact it attempts to explain that there are harsher realities that go beyond the romantic ideals of true love—that love may mean different things to others, and that it may not just work out in the end—but at the same time also depicts the innocence and excitement of first love, inviting the audience, to just, well, relax.
Where Pag-Ibig also shines is in its characters. While Andres and Pascual gave commendable performances for portraying naive teenagers (especially Pascual, who plays a stereotypical yet somewhat accurate jaded teenage boy), it is their life teachers, from Manong (Smokey Manaloto) to a drunken bus passenger (Alessandra de Rossi), who almost stole the spotlight from the leads. Even Erica Villongco, who plays Josh’s crazy girlfriend Cupcake delivered a good comic relief. Much like Jadaone’s previous films, her female characters are the strongest.
Pag-Ibig tackles an old
subject, but handles it
in way that is relatable
The only slight chink in the otherwise strong and solid armor of this movie is its sloppy treatment of the love triangle. Kiko (Julian Estrada), Sari’s childhood friend, appears midway through the movie. Perhaps it is the billing and perhaps it is how the character is portrayed (unlike Cupcake, the expectation for Kiko is higher given his seriousness), but in the long run, Kiko feels unnecessary. I blame the writing here more than the acting.
Pag-Ibig tackles an old subject, but handles it in way that is relatable and enjoyable. While most romantic comedies may actually titter towards drama more than comedy given all the stuff that’s going on with characters or the plot, this is just a feel-good movie. One need not really care about the ending because it is the journey that matters more. ♦