Sarah Geronimo and Coco Martin are paired for the first time in the romantic movie Maybe This Time. I must admit I had little faith in this love team at first.
For starters, they can pass for brother and sister. Second, I’ve gotten used to seeing Sarah teamed up with debonair leading men who complement her girl-next-door image. Third, it’s REALLY hard to get over the Sarah-Gerald Anderson pairing.
But I’m glad I gave them a chance. This can be a new love team to contend with.
Steph Asuncion (played by Sarah) and Tonio Bugayong (played by Coco) were once deeply in love. Back then, Steph was a young girl spending her summer in a sleepy coastal village for community service while Tonio made furniture out of driftwood while working on his dream of becoming a seaman. Charmed by the English tutor, he pursues her incessantly, only to leave without saying goodbye when she has finally fallen for him.
Seven years later Steph, who is now working in public relations, is assigned by her domineering lady boss Monica (Ruffa Gutierez) to prepare her unsophisticated but rich beau for high society. Steph’s world is rocked anew when she discovers her new client is Tonio himself.
Will this reunion open up a chance at reconciliation or will they find a way to forget the past and move on with their lives?
It is easy to see how this will end as all romantic comedies eventually reach the same conclusion.
You know right from the beginning that Steph and Tonio would fall in love, be torn apart by circumstances beyond their control and eventually get back together, stronger and happier after all they’ve been through. But we do want to see them deal with the consequences of their decisions and struggle to make things right again.
Coco’s wonderfully nuanced portrayal of a simple village boy who has lived and worked abroad is something that only an actor with deep sensibilities and similar experiences can pull off. In his hands, Tonio is both fragile and strong, uncompromising and eager to please, cautious but careless.
Sarah’s portrayal of Steph is just about as delightful as her portrayal of other similar roles: the family-oriented, hardworking girl who overcomes obstacles and wins in the end, only this time, she made Steph more mature.
The only person standing in the way of their reconciliation is Monica, who, as Steph’s boss dangles the proverbial sword of Damocles over Steph’s career, financial stability and chance at happiness with Tonio.
Monica could have stolen the show from Steph and Tonio had her character not been cut out from cardboard. As the only solid source of conflict in the love triangle, she could have had a few redeeming traits that would have made it harder—almost impossible—for Tonio to go back to Steph.
There was some attempt at this through Tonio when he describes Monica as being unfussy about washing dishes and entertaining guests when they first met in Italy and when it was established that Monica is prepared to bend over backwards for Tonio is private but refuses to let his true colors show in society.
But all these attempts at establishing Monica as a woman to reckon with stops when she full-on bitches with Tonio, negating the backstory created for her. It doesn’t help that all the other characters are rooting for Tonio and Steph since the beginning of the movie, making an alternative ending impossible.
Maybe This Time is a movie that ends from the time the opening credits show. Watching it is only a matter of waiting for the inevitable and hoping for a few surprises.
Overall, Maybe This Time is still worth seeing if only for the thrill of seeing a new love team.
Never mind that it ends before it even begins.
Directed by Jerry Sineneng, Maybe This Time is graded B by the Cinema Evaluation Board.