I’m a big fan of the Lizquen love team being an avid viewer of their breakout soap Forevermore. I just think these two stars (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) have a unique chemistry that translates off screen as well as on. After their teleserye, it came as no surprise that they were given a break by the network on the big screen via an adaptation of Wattpad’s The Bet written by Kimberly Joy Villanueva.
Honestly speaking, I think Wattpad is a great venue for budding writers but the downside to having unedited work is that imaginations run rampant that sometimes, these materials go overboard with the fantasy and forget that the works should at least be anchored on a portion of reality. Such was my problem with Talk Back and You’re Dead and Diary ng Panget, that while I loved the chemistry of Nadine Lustre and James Reid, there was a part of me that cringed whenever they were forced to deliver a scene that was so ridiculously farfetched.
Just the Way You Are (The Bet) was a different story. It was simple, and it was not very original as the story of a popular boy betting about an unpopular girl and falling in love with the process has been done and redone before but still, it tried to deliver a semblance of originality to a generic story.
Drake Sison (Enrique Gil) is one of the most popular guys in their school. One of his favorite pasttimes is betting with his buddies. When he loses a bet to his best bud Andre (Yves Flores), his friend punishes him with yet another bet, to make the reclusive balikbayan Sophia Taylor (Liza Soberano) fall in love with him in the space of 30 days. But as Drake gets to know Sophie, he realizes that he is indeed falling for the girl and he tries to call off the bet. But with stories like these, there is always a hidden conflict. Will Sophie finally be able to forgive Drake or will their happily ever after be a casualty of Drake’s reckless behavior?
I must say that despite the generic plot, I much enjoyed Just the Way You Are although I hardly even heard the song throughout the movie. I liked that the movie did not highlight the ugly duckling storyine because really, thick eyebrows and races are really not enough to uglify Liza. I loved that there was no malice involved when the guys made the bet. I was worried at first that Andrei was being jealous of Drake and that he was cooking up something evil but I was glad this was not the road the story went.
I liked the fact that there was an attempt to make the characters relateable and not just leave them as cardboard cutout stereotypes. There was really an effort to get the people to care about these two characters and the motivations behind their actions. Kudos to writers Maan Dimaculangan-Fampulme and Ceres Helga Barrios who did a great job with the adaptation of the book leading to a fluid transition to the big screen. It was light, it was romantic, it was young and everything it was supposed to be.
The only real issue I had was with Enrique Gil’s poufed up Johnny Bravo hair at the beginning of the movie. Enrique may be gorgeous and could pull off most of his looks, the Bravo hair may have made be double back and reconsider whether I would take him seriously
All in all, I loved Just the Way You Are. It wasn’t rocket science but it managed to accomplish what it set out to do – deliver a feel good love story that also showcased the acting potentials of its main stars. Good job to Direk Theodore Borobol and Star Cinema.