All you need is Pag Ibig: Movie Review

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Mel (Jodi Sta. Maria) is an optimistic single mom with a crush on her heartbroken boss Eric (Ian Veneracion). Anya is a down on her luck high school achiever who bumps into her former suitor Dino (Xian Lim), a rich heartthrob who is still hung up on his high school love. Love (Kris Aquino) is a successful television host and leading authority on love problems. Dom is a neglected boyfriend vacationing in the beautiful island of Coron. Eloisa (Nova Villa) and Jaime (Ronaldo Valdez) are a seventy year old married couple who have grown accustomed to being together that their relationship has grown boring. Teacher Corrina (Pokwang) is a spinster still pining for her now married ex-boyfriend. Jake (Bimby Aquino-Yap), Kelsey (Talia Concio) and Hannah (Julia Concio) are classmates who are dealing with their own heart problems at an early age. The characters depict the many faces and stages of love in all its forms.

From the opening sequence, from the opening frame, the narrative and the background sound – anyone familiar with Direk Antoinette Jadaone’s work will have no doubt that they are in for a lot of kilig moments and good vibes. The short animated narrative is a classic trademark of a Jadaone movie but when Jodi Sta. Maria’s Mel and Ian Veneracion’s Eric opened the movie, sparks flew, and a simple smile from Ian Veneracion seemed like the trigger that started the good vibes flowing.

It was a definite challenge to juggle five love stories in one movie, especially when they deal with different types and levels of love. It was especially taxing since Jadaone was dealing with big stars and love teams with tried and tested chemistry. But Direk Tonette, who also wrote the story, was able to pull it off and delivered on the magic that falling in love entailed. My favorite stories were actually that of Mel and Eric because they were both charming and cute, even though they were not the youngest couple in the movie. They were just naturally engaging and fun to watch, especially Ian, who hardly ever portrays a goofy role but let his hair down fully in this movie. On the other hand, Ronaldo Valdez and Nova Villa’s story was the one that inspired the waterworks for me. I loved their lines in the movie. The dialogue was so simple but the effortless acting and depth of the emotions they were able to convey was a testament to their mastery of their craft. Loisa’s line when she was confronting her husband was the ultimate hugot for me – “Ang nasaktan, kahit anong edad, nasaktan pa rin yun.”

What’s great about the film was that each character seemed to be tailor fit for each actor. Even Kris Aquino, who has a tendency to overact in her movies, delivered just the right amount of emotion and reigned in her instinct mainly because she could relate to her lines. As a result, she was funny and charming, a definite plus for the movie. Kim and Xian, after starring in several films and television projects together, also gelled well together and delivered on their roles well.

In writing the script, it seemed like Direk Tonette took the time to know her actors very well and in doing so, managed to capitalize on their strengths and use it for the movie. Jodi was a standout – there was no trace of Maya or Amor in her portrayal. It was entirely new character that charmed the audience anew and coupled with Ian, it was awesome to watch. I felt like they could have carried an entire movie on the strength of their love team alone (paging Star Cinema). My favorite scenes were the duet inside the car and the FB exchange.

I had a bit of a problem with the kids who were cast in the movie. I know I shouldn’t be hard on them because they’re kids but the acting was wooden instead of charming and I had a real problem with that, especially if the movie was going for a Love Actually peg. I think filmmakers could have done better with casting the kiddos.

Still, I love how the stories interconnected in the end. It wasn’t forced and it was executed with the same lighthearted tone that was consistent throughout the movie.

All in all, All You Need is Pag Ibig was able to communicate the idea and the feeling of love. It was able to impart lessons on learning how to love, heartbreak, moving on and falling for the right person. The stars had great chemistry. There was masterful storytelling and direction. It was able to manage an ensemble cast and highlight everybody involved. It managed to balance the kilig and the drama, and it had the catchiest theme song. Believe me when I say I could not get this song out of my head since I first heard it and I have been singing this song for two weeks now. All You Need is Pag Ibig is the embodiment of a Pinoy rom-com. And its not just about the hugot lines. Its about the great feeling that stays with you even after the movie. Its magic captured on screen.

P.S. I loved Tito Boy (Abunda) in the movie 😀 I get why he was plugging his cameo so much. His reparte with Kris was so natural.

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