?For The First Time?
D: Joyce Bernal
S: Richard Gutierrez, KC Concepcion
MANILA, Philippines?We expected to get dazzled by KC Concepcion?s first big-screen outing. After all, we?ve heaped well-deserved praise on her every move ever since she decided to follow her famous parents? footsteps in the entertainment industry?from her sassy contribution (?Roses?) to the ?Romancing Venus? album to her well-calibrated TV and recording stints.
So, with all the highfalutin hype and hoopla surrounding the stunning beauty?s serendipitous jump to the big screen, and with the usually reliable Joyce Bernal back in a genre that brought her acclaim, we were primed to see something worth all the much-touted hard work?because show biz?s Next Big Thing doesn?t deserve anything less. Alas, for the first time, KC?s ascent to the show biz throne has hit a snag:
Real estate executive, Sophia ?Pia? Sandoval (Concepcion), is overworked but under-appreciated by her emotionally-distant father and boss, Santi (Phillip Salvador). To take a breather from the pressures of work and family, she packs her bags, and with her annoying nanny in tow, she heads off to Santorini, a spectacularly picturesque Greek island in the southern Aegean Sea?only to find herself conveniently entangled with infamous playboy, Seth Villaraza (Richard Gutierrez), the disarmingly handsome former flame of many of her closest friends.
Pia?s overt hostility toward Seth merely fans the flirtatious bachelor?s amusement. Who knew that a playful shove and a dip in the crystal-clear Aegean waters were enough to thaw Pia?s frozen heart? Good thing she knows how to swim, or this rom-com would have ended in tragedy, right? As cinematic fate would have it, love blooms literally overnight. Unfortunately, happily-ever-afters don?t come easily, even in fairy-tale heaven. Does Seth and Pia?s romance stand a chance? One guess.
Let?s make this clear: KC?s participation in the movie is the best thing about it. She?s definitely notches more daring than her megastar mom (those sexy outfits and the screen kisses are a far cry from the jeans-on-the-beach and no-kiss stipulations in Sharon?s teenage heyday), and she has Sharon?s indubitable screen presence?with acting chops to boot. And more than TV, recording or the legitimate stage, she has found in the movies a medium she can truly thrive in?but not the right project.
The production has a number of glaring problems, its weak script being foremost on the list. To move its plot, the production relies heavily on chance. But, too much serendipity robs the film of believability.
The characters? motivations are sketchy: We don?t understand Pia?s overwhelming anger toward Seth, when even the ex-girlfriends he allegedly hurt only have nice words for him. Then, there?s the incomprehensibly seething anger of Pia?s father. For all his veiled pronouncements about Pia?s unreliability and incompetence, why turn over the reins of the family business to your 22-year-old daughter if you have a more dependable older son (TJ Trinidad)?
There?s no doubt that KC and Richard make a beautiful pair, but on the big screen, their so-called chemistry doesn?t ignite as much fireworks as we thought it would. Somehow, their story just doesn?t draw viewers in and win their empathy. Plus, a ?declamatory? make-up scene in the final act is hastily and awkwardly staged.
Bernal is known for her wit and comic sensibility. Unfortunately, you don?t get much of that here. Moreover, one of the movie?s biggest come-ons is its exotic locale?but half the time, all you see are bland images of that exotic European tourist hotspot, and that?s a shame.