So for the 2009 Metro Manila Film Festival, I decided to see a Star Cinema movie.  Over the years, I have always watched Regal Films’ entry especially if there is a Mano Po installment available.  But for this year, I decided to be swayed by my curiosity and spent 160 PhP to see a grown-up Angelica Panganiban act in the silver screen.  And yeah, I was also after Kim Chiu who was seen by me for the first time act on TV.  (I know this all sound weird but I’m not an ABS audience so yeah, I hardly see these 2 act in movies.  Derek Ramsay was also a first but I never really was interested about him, and I just gratified my dislike by watching this film).

The story revolves around Lizelle (Angelica) who is now having a living-in relationship with a much older guy Adrian (Gabby) who portrayed the role of a topnotch cardiovascular surgeon in one of the high-end hospitals in the country, Makati Medical Center.  The first scene showed Lizelle, preparing for the much-awaited introduction to Adrian’s bitchy classic matapobre and manlalait mother portrayed by Ms. Liza Lorena.  Adrian and Lizelle go to the birthday party of the Mom which was also attended by Valerie (Angel Aquino), Adrian’s ex-wife and Issa (Kim Chiu) who is their daughter without their knowledge.  In their first meeting, the roles of the characters were already given clarity.  Valerie, a non-bitter-happy-for-the-ex ex-wife, Issa a classic I-will-never-accept-my-madrasta-maldita kind of girl and Lizelle who is a forever underdog who will do her best just for Issa and Adrian’s Mom to finally accept her as a new family member (but will obviously fail or else Kim and Liza Lorena will lose the challenges in their roles).

Issa is forced to live with Adrian and Lizelle as Valerie had to fly to New York for a certain function.  In Adrian and Lizelle’s home, Issa invited Gary (Derek) whom Issa just met and quickly developed an attraction for despite their 8-year age gap.  Prior to the dinner encounter of the 4, Lizelle has been already informed by her best friend played by Matet De Leon that her lover for 4 years Gary has already arrived in the country and has been searching for her.  Gary and Lizelle were also living-in partners and actually planned to board a cruise ship together and work in the ship as employees and eventually earn to establish a well-living family.  Unfortunately, Lizelle wasn’t able to board the ship with Gary because she experienced an anxiety attack the moment she was supposed to jump on the ocean (a requirement by the ship they were supposed to board).  She was rushed to the hospital and the attending physician she had been Adrian. Gary, who could no longer wait for Lizelle to fulfill all the requirements and get in left Lizelle and went with the cruise ship’s departure.  Gary’s parting knifed Lizelle’s heart who was promised thus expecting that she and Gary would be in the ship together and ended their 4-year relationship.  Adrian then meets Lizelle once more in the coffee shop she was working for and develops a friendship with Lizelle. Another classic thing–they became good friends then realized they are happy with each other and then became lovers.

When Lizelle finally met Gary in the dinner their family hosted for Issa’s guest, Lizelle finally connected the dots and realized that Gary has been only using Issa to make their worlds smaller as Gary said that he has been still very much in love with Lizelle.  Gary admitted this ploy when Lizelle and he met once more in the house that Adrian bought for Lizelle.  This could have worked.  However, for an average reasonable person, this is very hard to believe given that there were no presented instances wherein Issa and Gary met.  And how the hell did Gary think of using Issa to get closer with Lizelle when Issa just got home from the US 3 days ago according to what has been stated in the movie? I know that realistic stuff really happen in movies but that is just one major annoying loophole!

Lizelle tries to stay away from Gary and tells him that she does not love him anymore (which was a condition from Gary for him to stay away from Lizelle already).  Lizelle preferred Adrian who has already been giving her the kind of life she has always wanted without even having the need to work.  Gary halts stalking Lizelle and is wooed by Issa who looks desperate just to have Gary’s attention.  Lizelle concentrates on being a good wife for Adrian who suddenly became ornery and cold after getting a suspension from the hospital due to a complaint from an unsaved patient’s family.  He then goes to Singapore for a medical seminar and leaves Lizelle alone under the same roof with Issa who was being ornery as well because of Gary’s multiple rejections of her.

Lone Lizelle felt sad and decided to go to the Ilocos trip with her friend played by Matet De Leon.  She has already declined a previous invitation for the said trip but decided to catch the bus they were riding to Ilocos without knowing that Gary has already been invited by them since Lizelle left a vacant seat.  Lizelle was flabbergasted to see Gary but just decided to shrug him off.  When they came to their destination, Lizelle did her best to get a bus trip back to Manila in avoidance of Gary’s presence but of course, since this is an engineered move to make Lizelle and Gary click once more, there was no bus to Manila.  And alas, there was this drunk beach chill-out where Gary and Lizelle got to be comfortable with each other and got to talk about their past romance.  The next day, they were having fun in the beach and it all ended up to a lengthy snogging fest BY THE BEACH :|.  I am telling you, it was really disturbingly lengthy because there were scenes where Gary was already fondling and smooching Lizelle’s breasts.  I mean yeah, these two are real-life couples but I don’t think it was a very wise decision because it just gave people an idea how they do the “thing” in real life.  Or maybe I’m just really kinda off when it comes to such scenes on movies.  To Gary’s dismay, when he woke up the next day, Angelica was not already with them and has decided to come home to Manila.

Lizelle comes home to Manila with Adrian finally back from Singapore.  Adrian surprises her with a marriage proposal as his annulment case with Valerie has already been settled.  Lizelle is caught off-guard and puts the proposal on hold for the meantime.  The next day, Gary meets her in the house that she has been decorating and Gary also presents her a ring with a marriage proposal.  Lizelle burst into tears and accepted Gary’s proposal.  They plan to elope the next day and leave Adrian hanging.  Adrian thwarts their plans by reading Lizelle’s SMS inbox while she takes a bath.  Come meeting time of Lizelle and Gary in the bus station, no Gary shows up for Lizelle until she finally lost the patience to wait further and went back to Adrian again.

Due to Gary’s sudden disappearance, Lizelle accepted Adrian’s marriage proposal.  A day before their wedding day, an insurance agent came to see Lizelle in their residence informing her that she is the beneficiary of Gary’s insurance investments.  Lizelle then discovers that Gary died and the informant in his death certificate is her doctor-fiance Adrian who according to his own confessions to Lizelle–confronted Gary the day they were supposed to meet and due to unexpected twists of events, a reckless driver came into the scene and hit Gary badly as he tried to run away from Adrian.  Gary is badly injured and was rushed by Adrian to the hospital but because of the severity of the injuries, he came into the hospital dead-on-arrival.

THIS MY FRIENDS is the start of a very ugly ending from this supposed-to-be high-caliber movie given that it is directed by Miss Laurice Guillen.

The wedding of Adrian and Lizelle still pushed through and the next scene after that showed a pregnant Lizelle preparing for the launch of her restaurant with Issa and her mother-in-law SUDDENLY nice and supportive of her.  That was it.

I am already used to dull and disappointing endings in Philippine movies.  However, what dismays me more in ILY Goodbye is that it did not only have weird twists and overly unrealistic scenes–it also had very poor acting quality when it comes to the actors.  No wonder it did not win any of the acting awards.  This is such a huge surprise for me as I was expecting Mr. Gabby Concepcion to showcase his extreme acting skills in this movie as this is his comeback in the Philippine cinema.  Fine, his acting was decent but for someone like him, that was below par!  He just looked like someone who was playing in front of the camera, pulling off every heavy scene by yelling at Angelica or at Derek or at Kim.  Angelica, on the other hand is still tweetums when it comes to acting.  The role was calling for a mature role even though Lizelle is younger than Adrian.  Her acting in Princess Sarah years ago is even better than her acting in this movie.  I hope she gets over her teenybopper style.  I was not really impressed with her acting because all she did was to cry in every other scene or contemplate in the dark, etc.  Derek Ramsay… I still don’t know why he got chosen for the role.  Kim Chiu was okay but particularly, nasasayangan ako sa kanya because the role was not really that good.  And for the lengthy love scenes, I think it really attracted a lot of movie goers–even senior citizens who comprised a large fraction of the seats when we watched, I swear!  Another unrealistic thing that I had to point out–the love scenes.  I mean yeah fine, sex really does happen in real life but pure dry kissing (without tongues) and long caresses do not really happen in real life in instances AS LONG AS THOSE.  I mean seriously.  Ask anyone around if that happens!  Quoting the guy seated at the back of our seat, sana man lang nilagyan ng tonguing yung kina Angelica at Derek para kapani-paniwala. I mean a girl as hot as Angelica???  Gosh, only a saint would be able to resist!

Oh well, even this film is clearly unsuited and weird, it still hit the box office jackpot so yeah, it’s okay for Star Cinema.  I just hope they’d have better movies in the future.  🙂