Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Miss You Like Crazy

Two people in a ferry boat, an annoying litany of "what ifs" and a lot of stones scattered around the metro.  It's a movie that aspires to be something more than your standard love story but falls short by reason of its flippant treatment of time and destiny-- this best summarizes the much-hyped and much-awaited comeback of the John Lloyd and Bea tandem to the big screen through Cathy Garcia-Molina's latest bid for another box office hit in Miss You Like Crazy.
"What if you never loved her? What if you never met just so you can erase her from your memory? What if, when you met, you were a different person? And she was too?"

The year is 2005, Allan Alvarez (John Lloyd Cruz) is a young professional who seems to have everything going for him - a beautiful, socialite girlfriend, an upcoming promotion as finance manager and a newly acquired property under renovation. But beneath his well-crafted life and veneer of success, Allan is in truth lonely. Furthermore, he begins to doubt the choices he's made in life but unable to voice it.

     While on board the Pasig River ferry, he meets Mia Samonte (Bea Alonzo) in your typical it-only-happens-in-the movies scenario, wherein Allan rushes out to the deck to prevent her from jumping overboard. What gave him the idea that she would be ready to hurl herself into the murky waters of the Pasig River, you say?  Well, prior to the said encounter, Allan noticed her as the girl who would cry her eyes out one day and be unusually perky the next. He also picked up a few stones that Mia had the habit of leaving behind, and  each one happened to contain Mia's thoughts or feelings conveniently through the use of a permanent marker.

And so begins their week long romance which began with what is perhaps one of the most banal conversations ever written for the big screen. Fueled by their undeniable attraction for each other, we see Allan and Mia accompany each other as they go shopping, attend mass, have coffee and walk in the park. Basically, they do everything that a normal couple does except that Allan is still with his girlfriend and Mia is scheduled to return to Malaysia after her brief holiday. 

By day three, the two can no longer deny their feelings for each other and thus become more than friends the moment they share their first kiss. But all's not well in paradise because Allan is all but married to his girlfriend of four years who just happened to be out of town when he met Mia. Despite being hurt  upon discovering that she's been cavorting around the  metro with someone's boyfriend, Mia decides to surrender herself to him anyway before going their separate ways.

Unfortunately, everything is not that simple. When Allan accidentally bumped into Mia at a hotel while he was accompanied by his girlfriend, he realized that his bond with Mia was stronger than he expected. After much deliberation, he decides to make a choice. He asks Mia to wait for him the following day at the ferry station, vowing to make things right.

 In a different situation, different place, a different time.There are things that only time can teach you. Like how much you love a person. Often you realize how much you've loved another only when you lost her.

Fast forward three years later, Mia is already back in Malaysia with a steady job and a Malaysian boyfriend  (Hans Isaac) when fate brings Allan back to her. This time the tables are turned,  as Mia is torn between rekindling an old romance and forging on with her current flame.

Pegged as love story that places a huge premium on the concept of destiny and time, Miss You Like Crazy follows Allan and Mia's love story as they spend five years just to find the right time to be together. The theme is rather straightforward as it depicts time and chance as variables in the game of love.

The film showcases a slew of examples to show that love does not follow a single equation-- as exemplified by the caretaker (Jun Urbano) who waited decades to pursue an old sweetheart; the younger brother who ditched his girlfriend of seven years in order to marry a girl he's only known for three months; and Mia's father (Bembol Roco) who had no qualms about leaving his family in order to be with his mistress. Even Allan's girlfriend placed a strong argument on how relationships required effort and time to build. And yet, despite all this exposition, the movie inadvertently fails to follow its theme to its logical conclusion. It's as if Star Cinema is dead set on giving you the requisite happy ending even though it supposedly pushes for a new approach or structure in telling love stories (e.g. And I Love You So, One More Chance and Love Me Again).

In Miss You Like Crazy, the notion of waiting for love is heavily romanticized, such that fate starts to live and breathe as if it were a character on its own. And it just so happened that fate, as portrayed in this movie, had as much subtlety as a sledgehammer. Apparently, the writers weren't content with  its deft hand bringing two people together, otherwise  they wouldn't have gone through all that trouble to spell out what has been fairly obvious at the get-go. The use of the stones as a narrative device to move the story along reeks of lazy storytelling and the overuse thereof was more than mildly off-putting. It fails to replicate the success of Ikaw Lamang Hanggang Ngayon  in using an inanimate object as a central component because, unlike that bench in front of the Manila Post Office, the stones were clearly a cheap marketing gimmick. (Seriously, who carries around stones and pentel markers for the sole purpose of writing down one's thoughts? It would've been a lot more acceptable if Bea's character were filling her pockets with them in preparation for a watery grave.) And as if the stones weren't enough to clue you in to the fact that Mia and Allan should be together, they had to throw in a chance meeting with a fortuneteller (a cameo by Noel Trinidad) and his grandson (Sid Lucero), and of course, who could forget-- the Petronas Towers. Talk about overkill. 

Miss You Like Crazy tries too hard to mimic the style of its Pan-Asian counterparts to disastrous results. Everything from the way the characters first met to the random inclusion of elements to heighten the story suggests that its creators had been more than inspired by a Korean movie or two. One only has to see the sequence leading up to the movie's love scene to know that the tight shots and the lingering silence (as lifted from countless Asian dramas) were executed without restraint, as the simple shot of a hand tentatively reaching out to another turned downright frisky, quickly pummeling romance into foreplay. And this is where the main problem lies-- in its indiscriminate borrowing. Too many things were incorporated in it without  thought as to how all these pieces would meld together to present a cohesive whole.  Too many things were borrowed without any understanding of why these elements (when used properly) work to full effect in the first place. It's all about moderation, folks. And the movie has none of it. So while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Miss You Like Crazy ultimately misses its mark. 


  1. Hi! This has got to be the most in-depth but entertaining review of MYLC I've read so far -- and that includes what came out in the local broadsheets when this movie aired. Bravo! =D

    MYLC is actually the first Philly-Lloydy movie I failed to catch in theaters (was just too busy at that time). Still, I'm def. watching it on DVD because I've been a fan of their love team since Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay. I'm not bat-sh*t crazy about them like I used to be (I used to review that drama non-stop and actually joined their first online fans club, hahahahaha. Went to a couple of KTKH taping sessions and the wrap-up party too, hahahaha. Crazy times.), but they remain, without a doubt, one of the most consistent and bankable Pinoy love teams around. (R.I.P. Piolo-Juday, nuts)

    I enjoyed your others write-ups and look forward to more! XD Oh, and I'm honored to see my site on your blogroll. Thanks a bunch!


  2. Wow, my very first comment-- and it happens to come from a certified John Lloyd-Bea fan, not to mention the actual blogger for The Little Dorama Girl. How cool is that? XD

    First off, I'd like to thank you for your positive feedback and the encouragement. I wasn't really expecting anyone to read this thing since I frequently get hit by a case of ADHD, so it's actually a bit hard to sit down and compose my thoughts. MYLC isn't a bad movie, but I think a lot of people might be underwhelmed since it'll be measured up against "One More Chance" and it didn't live up to the hype. I do agree that they're one of the few bankable love teams left from their batch. Lol about Piolo-Juday.

  3. Lol, ADHD -- yeah, tell me about it! It's like, there's so much to watch and so little time to watch it, argh!!!

    Well, your blog is relatively new, but with all the quality posts you've been putting out, your site's readership can only grow from hereon. ;-) You know the old movie line from "Field of Dreams" -- "If you build it (and shamelessly pimp it at every possible forum, message board and online community you're a member of), they will come." lolzzz I know that's what I did. =D

    And since you cover a wider array of topics and fandoms (Hollywood movies and shows! John Lloyd! Bea! lol) besides the usual Asian drama stuff, there are actually more sites out there where you can promote your blog. Good luck! ^^,,

  4. I finally watched this on DVD last night. One word: BLERG. Given all the "are they, or aren't they MEANT! TO! BE!??? (*bites! fingers!*) plot devices, the whole movie felt as drawn-out as its 5-year timetable. (Have you seen the 2003 movie "Turn Left, Turn Right" starring Takeshi Kaneshiro? Same stilted formula.)

    I hate it when the Great Cattle Prod of Destiny takes repeated stabs at the main characters so that OF COURSE they have no other recourse but to end up in each others' arms!!! MYLC has prolly the worst use of visual symbolism in a Philly-Lloydy movie or drama. (And Noel Trinidad, ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?????? Why, Noel Trinidad, why???)

    And you're right, MYLC felt like a Kdrama/K-movie: the underpinning narration (this is more Jdrama, though), the film starting at the end, the stillness of shots, the v. pretty cinematography (although Star Cinema prod'ns are always known for that... just that, lol), etc.

    Hehe, but I actually liked the "Finger Foreplay" moment on the bench. Lloydy's long, tapered, clean-looking fingers are what I've always loved about him -- and not the man boobs, and def. not the salbabida around his waist, haha.

    The stuff I liked? Ketchup Eusebio, Hans Isaac (poor shmuck!), the veteran actors, Ryan and Timmy Eigenmann (Sid Lucero)... And of course, the undeniable kemmistreee b/w Bea and John Lloyd. Well, at least I got my kilig moments. And those two can always act up a storm, and make the most of their characters. Still, the whole time I kept thinking about "One More Chance" and how MYLC is simply not up to snuff.

    Just venting. Sorry for spamming! ^^,,

  5. No problem, girl. Spam away. Lol.

    You know I actually thought that Bea was trying harder in this movie as opposed to John Lloyd, who I believe was just phoning in his performance. It's something he gets away with a lot (see You Changed My Life), simply because he has no peer or rival to speak of in the industry at the moment. Good thing the chemistry is still there but somehow the supporting characters were better at leaving an impression, which speaks volumes as to how "duh" the movie was.

    As for your reference to "Turn Left, Turn Right"-- can't help but be more lenient with that movie since it's source material is a 132-paged picture book. But MYLC and the stones? Come on now. 0_o