This is a review of Star Cinema’s My Ex and Whys.
Star Cinema’s romantic-comedy My Ex and Whys is helmed by Cathy Garcia-Molina and is headlined by the most gorgeous pair among the young love teams in the local cinema, Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, christened as LizQuen.
My Ex and Whys centers around call center-slash-blogger Calixta “Cali” Ferrer (Liza Soberano) whose blog with a not-so-original-but-cute-name “The Bakit List” (The Why List) is dominated by resentment towards the opposite sex. Cali’s vexation towards the male gender stems from a failed relationship with band member with a playboy image Gio Martinez (Enrique Gil with noticeably less pink lips). An out-of-town gig, unlimited supply of alcohol and females with barely-there clothes led Gio to a desirable path with undesirable result. Gio’s betrayal is the straw the broke the camel’s back.
Cali has had trust issues with men as her father (Emilio Garcia?) has the proclivity to treat her mother (Ara Mina) like a doormat. He ditched her for a younger and sexier woman in front of Cali and her friends, while his wife bawled out incoherent words that is synonymous to a Filipino film breakdown scene (Being a philanderer is bad enough, did he have to do it in broad daylight, too? What a bastard!).
Cali uses her unpleasant experiences with the men in her life to be the source of her unrelenting enquiries that always start with “bakit” (why). She slowly gains more followers as netizens positively respond to the contents of her blog.
After a couple of years without any communication with Cali (who changed residences), Gio fortuitously finds her. In order to get her attention, Gio sets up his own blog, “The Dahil List” (The Because List), to counter Cali’s posts, to apologize to her and to show that he is a changed man who deserves another chance. Their rapid word war catches the attention of netizens and soon they are touted as the new online love team.
Fate, fame and financial opportunities (I had to push hard for the alliteration 🙂 ) throw Cali and Gio back into each other’s arms. As Cali and Gio spend more time together, will Cali give Gio the opportunity to prove himself worthy of her time and trust, for the second time? Will Gio succumb to the feminine forms other than Cali’s that tempt him into submission? Will “The Bakit List” find satisfactory answers to all the “bakit” in “The Dahil List”?
The main weapons of My Ex and Whys are the main actors, Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. They won the genetic lottery and look lovely onscreen, and thank goodness, they also act well. Liza has proven in Everyday I Love You that she is a natural in front of the camera and is not afraid of to roll around in mud, with or without the horrendous wig that she wore in Just The Way You Are. In My Ex and Whys Liza demonstrates that she can cry naturally, effectively and beautifully, something that other young actresses can only wish for. Among the three films of LizQuen that I have watched, My Ex and Whys is the most lighthearted and fun. Liza also shows that she can deliver in comedy scenes. She can make fun of herself (call herself pangit (ugly) and be called bruha (witch)), roll her eyes heavenwards and back, and showcase her youth as she gracefully twirls while she enjoys “the shower of golden yellow leaves.” Liza switches from poignant to light scenes or from mad to forgiving with ease and her bodily motions matching her expressions and pronouncements. If there is one minor flaw in Liza’s performance in this film, it is her delivery of some lines. Some of them are unintelligible because she seems to be rushing to blurt out the kilometric Filipino lines. It is not as bad as her friend’s (Karen Reyes) mumbling (which is the worst thing about the movie), but it is something she can improve on.
Enrique Gil does another Enrique Gil role in My Ex and Whys. I wrote before that Enrique is perfect as the ingleserong (English-speaking) leading man, and here he has not deviated far from that path. Sure, his Gio is not as wealthy and as inglesero as Ethan in Everyday I Love You but they have the same nuances, the way they pose and act to woo Liza’s character. It goes without saying that Enrique makes hearts-a-flutter with one unsure smile as he slowly lifts his head to look at Liza or when he tilts his head, lifts his brows and makes a naughty smile. The good thing is, Gio is a jilted lover but a funny guy and that gives Enrique additional character dimension to work with. Like Liza, Enrique is also great at comedy. His deadpan delivery of lines is good.
Aside from Liza and Enrique, the supporting cast of My Ex and Whys is noteworthy. Ara Mina and Arlene Muhlach and Cai Cortez as Cali’s aunts are spectacular. From the time they appear onscreen as a dancing trio to the time they laud Cali’s actions in the end and every hugot line they declare in between, they hold their own against a very magnetic Liza. They provide both the reality check and the much-needed fun banters to give a pause from all the depressing “bakit” questions.
If Cali has three women by her side, Gio has also three notable men in his corner. They are Pops (Joey Marquez), brother (Joross Gamboa) and uncle (Hyubs Azarcon). They show that boys will be boys regardless of age, use double entendre and try to lure Gio to the dark side, but they do these in a witty way.
Cali and Gio’s friend Lee (Ryan Bang) is the best surprise. Ryan is Korean and has a hard time speaking Filipino, but he delivers his long and complicated Filipino lines like a pro. They are rehash of hugot lines from past Star Cinema movies, but they are such great lines, and Ryan sucessfully delivers them with a degree of novelty.
Stay until the credits roll to watch the bloopers. The collection of bloopers is better than other full-length Filipino comedy films. I kid you not.
Ryan is more at home in, well, Korea, where Lee, Cali and Gio go for that token-outside-the-country trip that is now very in among Filipino films and series. The trip to Korea is memorable for two reasons: the first one is “the shower of golden yellow leaves” scene and the other is the traditional Korean wedding ceremony. They are something new to the local audience who have not been to Korea.
My Ex and Whys, a perfect balance of romance and comedy, is a worthy follow up movie to LizQuen’s Everyday I Love You. It is light, funny and filled with kilig (giddy-inducing) scenes and hugot lines. It shows that Liza and Enrique have grown into even more beautiful individuals from head to toe with respectable acting chops to boot as they tackle both drama and comedy with ease. My Ex and Whys is para sa mga taong nagmahal, nasaktan, naloko at nanloko, ngunit patuloy na nagmamahal at naniniwala sa forever.
- If there is a negative thing about the movie, it is the predictable ending that is very similar to the ending of Catch Me, I’m In Love, another Star Cinema film.