Judging from its past releases, Star Cinema has been slowly becoming more and more radical in its films’ themes and story lines. It is slowly distancing from forgettable romantic comedies titled with love songs and brainless comedies.
At least for me, the paradigm shift started with My Amnesia Girl. My Amnesia Girl’s trailer has promised a story that is supposed to be familiar and in parallel with the plot of similar films like 50 First Dates or A Moment to Remember (Korean). However, like what is done in Kim Chiu and Xian Lim‘s second film, Star Cinema plays with the viewers’ expectations and shifts them in an at least less predictable perspective. It’s the same formula but just a different equation.
Bride for Rent introduces Kim Chiu as Raquelita Dela Cruz a.k.a. Rocky, 24 years old from Sampaloc, Manila. She is your typical cinematic breadwinner with a big family, a big heart and an over-the-top bubbly personality. She sidelines as a direct seller of bras and make-up and a commercial model. Xian Lim, however, plays a spoiled Lola‘s boy with commitment issues caused by childhood emotional baggages. Rocco also has a trust fund (yet to be received unless he’s married at the age of 25), which basically is the reason why the two opposite characters will meet.
WARNING: SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP
Rocco hires Rocky to act as his wife but before they can continue executing the plan, Rocky is caught off guard by Rocco’s grandmother played by Pilita Corrales. Here comes the “twist”. Spoiler Warning!! Lala (a fancy way of calling a lola) finds out about Rocco’s plan. Instead of getting mad and confronting Rocco, she then decides to play his grandson’s own little game. She hires Rocky to continue acting as Rocco’s wife with the goal of teaching Rocco a lesson about commitment and valuing people. Of course, two main characters fall in love in the process.
Of course, people are more vulnerable to fall in love when they pretend to have fallen in love. Even worse, Rocky is pretending to pretend that she is Rocco’s wife. Long story short, Rocky and Rocco develop feelings in their romantic montage. When the whole truth comes out, Rocco feels betrayed and gets mad at Rocky. They part ways until he realizes that love is greater than the lies they have both created. He patches things with the people he burned bridges with (i.e., his friends/business partners, Lala and father). He proposes to Rocky and they get married again, this time, for real.
The plot may be simple and predictable but the film manages to keep the viewers excited. I also think that the script, though it can still be better, is wonderfully written. The punchlines are not forced and overly analyzed. I like how Rocky uses references from Movies (No Other Woman) and popular figures (Senator Miriam), etc. Isn’t amazing?
Overall, the film is entertaining and funny. I believe it is even funnier, technically and generally better than Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy. The film has its comedic moments that have almost made people celebrate in applause (e.g., shower scene, Rocco’s perspiring scene).
However, it lacks the “romantic” element. The film does not show enough “kilig” factor. It is hard to identify a specific scene where one will envy the relationship the main characters have. It’s my first time to watch KimXi ever so I can’t judge if this is normal or not. The chemistry could have been better if Xian’s character has been fully developed (during and after the romantic montage). The character could have been a little more dynamic to balance Kim’s over-the-top character.
The film also struggles to fully develop the conflict before it is began to be resolved. Although we like a film that’s fast-paced and not boring, It seems that the film has been rushed (or is it low-budgeted?). There ending is rushed and every lose end is tied up very quickly. Rocky does not even try to apologize to Rocco. The film could have prolonged this pivotal moment to display Rocco’s soft and emotional side.
In a glance, one may view Bride for Rent as a step backward towards reviving the dying industry of Philippine cinema and another means to capitalize on the KimXi love team. On the other hand, it may be just a film aiming to neutralize the more popular asawa mo, asawa ko rollercoaster ride a.k.a. anti-marriage themes.
Then again, it may just be a simple film that aims to entertain and inspire people to believe in forever, love and get married.
Below is a summary of my notes on Bride for Rent.
1. Kim Chiu – Although she has the tendency to be over-acting and annoying, Kim Chiu is a very promising comedienne. Maybe it is because of her small stature or her meek and gentle image that when you hear her say such crude words as “pucha”, “momol” or “utot”, you will be breaking into laughter.
If you close your eyes and hear Kim’s laughter and the way she talks, you will think that Kim is channeling her inner Kris Aquino in the film. All those guesting in Kris TV have finally paid off!
2. Empoy- Empoy may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but for me, he is really funny.
3. Interviews of Married Couples (VTRs)- The VTRS are wonderfully made and edited. The couples appear really genuine (or are they real couples?). And that old couple’s interview, aww…
1. Supporting Characters- The film focuses a lot on the stories of the main characters. I do not know if this is an advantage or not.
2. Rocco singing “Till I Met You” while playing the piano- This scene is sweet and at the same time weird. We know Xian can sing and play the piano but these have not been introduced in the beginning. And, he just sings out of nowhere. Anyway, the gesture is still sweet.
3. Simple story
1. Xian Lim’s acting – Xian Lim’s acting is generally okay but it can still be better. There are moments that the acting appears forced and sometimes, painful to watch, especially in the beginning.
2. Sounds – I don’t know if this is a technical fault of the cinemas but the sounds especially in the first part is too loud and annoying. Every character is shouting and the volume does not help.
3. After Credits VTR Interview of Rocco and Rocky
Have you watched Bride for Rent?
What do you think of the movie? Do you dig the KimXi loveteam?
Tell us what you think.