EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to FHM's Should You Watch, a new movie review section where we provide you the most straightforward answer to whether a film is worth your time and P200. Basically, it's just a yes or a no. But of course we'll also tell you about the parts we liked and the ones we didn't—the factors that went behind our answer.
Now find a good spot for a quick read, relax, and please don't devour this while you're driving...
FHM’s finest woman for 2015, Jennylyn Mercado, has a new movie out: The PreNup.
Directed by Jun Lana (the guy behind the Philippine entry to the 2013 Academy Awards, Bwakaw), the rom-com features a classic telenovela tambalan: a woman of modest upbringing (Mercado) and one guy that is so absurdly, ridiculously rich that his last name is “Billones” (Sam Milby). As expected, the rich family doesn’t approve of the relationship, the poorer family feels berated, and they feud.
The rich family believes that Mercado is after their wealth, and so prepares the titular “pre-nup” or pre-nuptial agreement. In response, the poorer family (Mercado’s dads are two gay construction workers) issue their own conditions. Their bangayan continues, eventually threatening the marriage of Jennylyn and Sam.
JENNYLYN IS BREATHTAKING
If you love Jennylyn—and if you're on this site, there's a big, big chance you do—you owe it to yourself to watch the film. The PreNup shows you why she's the Philippines' sexiest as her character, the bright-eyed Wendy, struts along the streets of Manhattan, donning tight-fitting tank tops in all hues and colors.
But more than the form-revealing tops, Jennylyn shows her rom-com chops fantastically. Wendy is candid and adorable when she bursts into her sudden monologues; irresistibly cute in her attempts to try out American phrases ("As a matter of fact, I'm doggone tired!"); and when she’s heartbroken, you just want to reach out to the screen and give her a long, warm hug. Jen, once again, firmly secures her place atop the romantic comedy genre in The Prenup.
THE SUPPORTING CHARACTERS ARE ENTERTAINING
Gardo Versoza, who plays one of Jennylyn’s gay dads, is a scene-stealer with an endless barrage of witty lines. Young actor Neil Coleta, who plays Sam’s closeted gay socialite brother, is just as amusing. The slapstick tantrums of the ever-reliable Melai Cantiveros and the veteran acting chops of the amazing Jaclyn Jose (she’s the scheming alta mother of Sam’s character) will at least regularly give you hope that the story’s going to get better.
NEW YORK LOOKS GOOD
THE STORY LACKS FOCUS
While the film has sharp-looking shots, The PreNup suffers from an overblown plot that, we feel, should have concentrated on what its title promises. Instead, it uses its first 50 minutes—the film’s almost two hours long—painting Wendy and Sean's made-in-New York whirlwind romance, which is engaging for a while until you realize it’s taking too damn long to reach its punchline.
When it does get to tackling the actual pre-nup, you’ll be saying, “It’s about time!” You gain hope that the story’s going to pick up. But the excitement soon dissipates in what feels like a collection of random scenes set in hotels, parlors, and a big Tanduay-sponsored party. The film also gives almost every actor their own “moment” to sort of say something about the entire pre-nup issue. Unfortunately, these moments feel like they're on separate islands instead of being parts of a cohesive, land-locked motherland
IT DOESN’T ADD ANYTHING SIGNIFICANT TO THE RICH GUY-MEETS-NOT-SO-RICH-GIRL FORMULA
The wealth disparity of the characters in The PreNup isn’t at Marimar- or Pangako Sa’ Yo-level. It’s more comparable to the divide between Miggy and Laida in the A Very Special Love trilogy. Our problem with this one, though, is that it doesn’t really improve on the dynamics that made that formula work. It has a number of funny, memorable lines (“Ang pag-ibig parang fishball. Tusok dito, tusok doon!”) but generally, it’s the same pa-kilig narrative that made you blush a couple of times the first time you saw it. Jennylyn might be able to make you feel like that again in some parts (Hallelujah!); nonetheless, you've seen this movie already.
The PreNup is now showing in cinemas nationwide and is produced by Regal Films.