30 January 2009 | charliekoon
Not Only Me
The film is horrendous. I cannot think of an adjective to better articulate my dismay with this creepy crappy film. I have nearly lost my Filipino sensibility with its hazy 'crude humor' which they have deliberately incorporated. What's with patola? You know, it's just baffling to me, that somehow, at this point in time, they already know how to adhere with the proper usage of comedic devices in films. This is where we are good at. What I have seen is entirely a mockery of what they have already established (Star Cinema's recent films).
My Only Ü is the story of Winona (Toni Gonzaga), who happens to have a history of early death from her mother's side. They have been cursed that before they reach the age of twenty-five, they will die. Bong (Vhong Navarro) is the caretaker of the tenement where Winona lives. He is the closest friend of Winona. He has a deep admiration for her. He tries his best to save Winona's life who is two days away from her 25th birthday. Things changed when Winona miraculously survives the curse.
The premise of the film has uncovered the contrivance I wanted to discuss further. They have integrated a device which has been used by Greek and Roman drama called dues ex machina. It is probably the idea behind the 'fantastic' or rather the insoluble plot. Of course a double usage might not be harmful and the film has gotten hold of it in the presence of Doctor Duke (Benji Paras). Obviously, the premise has something to do with the unexplained curse, which they have lethargically narrated in a very pseudo-comical way. They showed the ancestors of Winona who passed away before reaching twenty-five and has explained how they died. It is confusing though that they have explained the unlikely way they die rather than simply explaining the curse itself. Doctor Duke just comes out of nowhere to resolve the problem.
What can we do, the intractable problem in the plot line has already been completed. It is not entirely healthy to use this kind of device simply because it implies a lack of skill on the part of the writers (Emmanuel dela Cruz, Chinno Marquez, John Roque, Tanya Winona Bautista). It does not compensate to the appropriate logic of the story itself. What will the characters do? Just act out what has simply been the idea in the first place? Does it mean that the character's seemingly sparkling romance is a bit off to put it further? It is a bit insulting for me as part of the audience watching it and persuading myself with its machination. I could not simply partake of it.
The moment I sit in that theatre, I know what they have to offer and that is to entertain. Actually, there is a promise of entertainment in the film which is easily recognized. Audience might need a little participation for this as they must be willing to overlook the limitations of the film and not interfere with the approval of the premise. It is quite interesting though, but even on its entertainment aspect, the film deeply subsides.
The cinematography is irrevocably bad. It doesn't adhere to the very essence of why it was made in the first place. It looks dull at times, the color grading is a bit dark, or does it embody death? Actually it must look brighter. Nonetheless they have been proud of the fact that it is a black comedy after all. The supposed to be humor that surrounds death is a bit offensive. It tries to be humorous but it appears to be more on the scornful aspect of it. The idea has totally gone off-beam as their objective of a lighter approach towards the subject of death has not been reasonably thought of.
It is also noteworthy to define the jokes they have injected in the film. Filipino Culture is unique towards this and I have no condemnation with how ethnocentric the jokes have progressed. It is at times funny. The parody has been a very good device to extract laughter. But My Only Ü has been sloppy with the off-color humor it has projected simply because it is not hilarious at all. I never heard the audience laugh for some of its 'in-jokes'. They could have been forced to laugh simply because there is a cue that it is indeed the punch line. I have no doubts that the actors have made their very best to make it humorous. They have done it with caution and much more, with precision. But I cannot simply give away my laughter for those silly lines. Anyway, Gonzaga and Navarro have this charm in how they handled their characters. It could save the film. Actually, it is funny that we still criticize films like this. Why not? If they could have known their strengths, they could have stuck with them. I did not feel any risk on their part as they get to use a hasty device.
Garcia-Molina might have done a great job with A Very Special Love simply because it is written with grace and is confidently executed. For now, it has been a hit and miss. My Only Ü has used a device not so common to all. People die for strange reasons and at times, even if they have sickness, it is still uncommon to the general Filipino public (You should go to PGH). Tragedy still requires a logical explanation for any occurrence as well as with comedy. Even with a comedic interpolation, it must be coherent. Films must give justice to what has transpired because after they have shown it, they can't explain further what it tries to achieve.