MOVIE REVIEW: Starting Over Again makes an effort to steer clear of the usual romantic movie equation

Starting Over Again director Olivia Lamasan (second from left) is joined by lead stars Piolo Pascual, Toni Gonzaga, and Iza Calzado.



“How do I un-love you? How do I un-write the past?”



A love story that begins with this premise is sure to pique your interest, assuming, of course, that Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga are not reasons enough for you to head to the movie theater.



Starting Over Again has all the elements of a romantic movie: a renowned director at its helm (Olivia Lamasan), great chemistry between its lead stars, funny scenes guaranteed to elicit a few laughs.



But it seems that’s all there is to it as the film clearly chose stick to the tried and tested formula, leaving viewers with nothing new. That is, aside from the fact that the movie veers from the typical love story timeline (boy meets girl, they get together, girl leaves boy, they get back together), plus there’s also an attempt to put a twist to the ending.



In Starting Over Again, the story practically begins when Toni’s character, Ginny, leaves Marco (played by Piolo) for an unknown reason. Thanks to a letter from Marco via LetterLater.com, a Web site that allows you to send a letter to anyone at a future date, Ginny finds herself wondering about what might have been.



To help viewers piece the story together, there are flashbacks to how their love bloomed during Ginny’s years at university, where Marco was a professor.


Although there’s something that makes you feel uncomfortable about a professor going into a relationship with a student, Piolo and Toni’s chemistry is bound to make you forget about this for a minute, as you get lost in a kilig moment or two.



The pair’s contribution to the film is split right down the middle—Piolo makes viewers swoon, while Toni makes them laugh with her crazy antics. Marco’s transformation from a geeky looking professor to a most handsome chef is worth watching out for. Toni is perfect as Ginny, who may have grown into a sophisticated professional architect, but is still unafraid to embarrass herself especially for the sake of the man she loves.



Iza Calzado as Patty, the current girlfriend of Marco, looks perfect as the girl you want to hate but can’t (she’s just too nice). But only until she starts to deliver her lines like she’s reading straight out of a book of love quotes. Then you wish Marco would just get back together with Ginny pronto!



You may also have to force yourself to stay awake during a particular scene with Ginny and Patty, where they pretend to talk about baking and cooking but are actually debating about who should end up with Marco.



Supporting performances by Cai Cortez and Beauty Gonzales as Ginny’s best friends are notable and provide much-needed comic relief when dialogues start to become dragging. Veteran actor Lito Pimentel seems to be typecast as a deadbeat dad lately but is effective anyway.



A couple of scenes add to the rom-com cliché: Marco runs after Ginny in the rain, and an incident that forces Marco to finally make a choice between the two women. When it’s time for the latter, expect to endure another lengthy dialogue as the film tries to keep audience in suspense.



The ending is where the movie makes an effort to steer clear of the usual rom-com equation, but it is interesting to see how this will be received. Surprise cameo roles attempt to make up for the unexpected resolution of the plot, giving viewers “pampalubag-loob” to take home with them.



So expect the usual, and just think that the cash you’ll shell out for tickets and popcorn is well worth the chance to see Piolo anyway.



Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.


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