John Lloyd Cruz and Jennylyn Mercado are flying high in Just the 3 of Us. The rom-com dream team look good in anything they wear, have perfected the art of making pa-kilig, and comedic timing when it comes to delivery of lines in their individual careers. How did they fare in their first onscreen team-up?
John Lloyd plays Uno Abusado, a playboy pilot and Jennylyn is JC Manalo, an aspiring flight attendant for the same fictional Liberty Pacific Airlines.
Their paths first cross during a big party where Uno is celebrating his pending captaincy and JC is trying to drown her sorrows from a broken heart. This ends up in a one night stand. Three weeks later, in broad daylight, the ugly truth is revealed: she is pregnant with his baby.
The premise of the movie reminds this writer of the Salma Hayek-Matthew Perry starrer Fools Rush In.
John Lloyd is characterized as an orphaned ladies’ man who’s only committed to furthering his career. Jennylyn, on the other hand, is part of a huge clan who live outside of the metropolis and whose hopes and dreams are pinned on the only girl. The visual as well as dialogue cues establish these very well.
Aside from the leads, the casting of some actors feels so perfect. For example, Maria Isabel Lopez as JC’s mother and Joel Torre as her father; aside from being exceptional veterans, they provide a good balance of comedy and drama, avoiding cliché and caricature.
Richard Yap, who plays Captain Gatchalian, is also perfect as a foil to the young, aspiring pilot. The male obstetrician is hilarious—but balances this with advice that sounds helpful. The little girl who lives next to Uno’s unit, is adorable and articulate—and avoids the pitfalls of child stars: being too loud or too overacting or too saccharine-sweet.
The script tries to use the last names of the lead characters—whose meanings are certainly not lost on the audience—to good use, though not always with successful results. Some puns or witty turns of phrase fall flat.
The editing and camera work in the first few scenes, especially of the night leading up to the fateful encounter between the two, is fresh and ingenious. But it does not sustain this rhythm for the entire movie.
The first hour and few minutes, actually, seem to be awkward in terms of story and editing. Only in the second half does the movie pick up, with more kilig scenes and dialogue, and much better chemistry between the two leads.
The much-hinted-about sex scenes—two of them, strictly speaking—are very different from each other. The first, fast-paced, veritable montage of body parts, and lacking emotions; the second, showing less, but lingering more on the faces of the actors. These show the genius of director Cathy Garcia Molina in packing the right emotions in a sequence.
John Lloyd once again puts his acting prowess to good use, whether it is to flash his charming smile of his or to change from a stoic expression to eyes watering.
John Lloyd and Jennylyn play off well in the second half of the movie. The last scene is especially electric.
Just the 3 of Us was graded B by the Cinema Evaluation Board and is a good antidote to this scorching summer and punishing pre-election real-life drama. It opens today, May 4, in the Philippines and select countries worldwide.
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.