Arci Munoz and Gerald Anderson have great onscreen chemistry in the rom-com movie Can We Still Be Friends? that many scenes seem unscripted.
That’s not to say that the screenplay by Jen Chuaunsu does not capture the attention and imagination. The pair makes Chuaunsu’s characters believable and her lines, many of which are full of innuendo not only about the current conversation but about what is happening in their relationship, pregnant with meaning.
The script is relevant enough, with Arci (Sam) and Gerald (Diego), playing friends who have been in a relationship and decide to break up after eight years. Thus, the question posed as the title.
The story unfolds without being predictable, yet it is very grounded in the “now”--with situations involving the dating app Tinder, socialization spaces like the laundromat and club, social media posts, and staycations.
But beyond being a millennial romantic comedy, director Prime Cruz lets the personalities of the characters, and the actors that play them, shine through. There is a very relatable relationship not only in the romantic side between the main characters, but they have a very natural rapport between friends as well: Gerald with Brian Sy, and Arci with Erika Padilla and Juan Miguel Severo.
The gay couple storyline between Severo and Markki Stroem is in the periphery. But it manages to communicate that love is love in its many iterations. The wedding vow, written by Severo himself, becomes the “aha” moment that actually carries the message that every relationship is unique and every successful love story is imperfect.
Ria Atayde (Cindy), as the new girl in Diego’s life, is bubbly with an underlying earnestness. She resists the trap of playing the character as just a typical party girl.
Bryan Santos (Trevor), as the guy who seems to be the man that fits Sam’s ideal--is stiff and unconvincing.
The movie is a breath of fresh air and is relatable to people who have been in love, are in love, and those who have broken up. And despite it having a millennial pulse, the heart that beats at the core of the story is not constrained by age or gender.
Ed's Note: The 'PEP Review' section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.