Jason Paul Laxamana’s To Love Some Buddy plays around with a concept that many other storytellers have toyed with in their narratives: falling in love with your best friend.
While others may argue that the core idea is overused and their fingers aren’t enough to count how many times they’ve seen people falling in love with their best friends on TV, in the movies, and in real life, this perceived flaw is what makes the film irresistible to viewers. Practically everyone can relate to the darn story, and all of them are itching to see how it unfolds—paving the way for possible box-office success.
As bosom buddies Faith and Julius, Maja Salvador and Zanjoe Marudo are quite the playful and amusing pair. The first 20 minutes of the film are non-stop funny and entertaining because of these two. Their palpable chemistry makes each scene depicting the process of falling for each other feel as natural as possible. Together, Zanjoe and Maja’s comedic timing is impeccable— made more obvious by lighting, panning, or focusing techniques employed during filming.
Zanjoe/Julius as the narrator makes the storytelling even more intimate, more personal—as if a friend was telling you his story over a cup of coffee.
There is nothing to hate about this movie. You’ll probably wrinkle your nose at most; perhaps during that scene where Julius parks his truck on what looks like some bike (or is that a remote control car) track so he and Faith can go stargazing. We all know that this would least likely be allowed unless he’s friends with the security guard.
There’s this scene where Julius plays a tune on his keyboard as Faith dances to it with reckless abandon and we’re reminded just what a good dancer Maja Salvador is. At first it’s amusing to see her playful interpretative movements, but then it gets to a point when you realize you’ve had enough and in your head you pretend to extend a leg so she’ll trip over and stop dancing.
If you’re sensitive and you work in retail, you might not appreciate the fact that being a mall marketing officer is depicted as an inferior profession beside software programming and medicine even if it may be the case, according to society’s imposing standards.
In a nutshell, To Love Some Buddy tells the story of two best friends who choose to take things further by entering a romantic relationship. But it does have layers that lend clarity—or at least attempts—to issues that are pertinent to the generation referred to as millennials. You know what they say about millennials being too idealistic and picky about the careers they pursue? That idea is all over this film.
Zanjoe as an idealistic but struggling songwriter fits the bill. Maja proves her versatility as an actress. This girl can execute comedy with the same precision she employs to crush your heart in a TV drama. It would have been easy to say that the role fits her to a T if you’re willing to overlook the fact that she belongs in an affluent and elitist family in the movie, but her character bears no trace of the regal bearing and sophistication women of her social stature normally have. It’s probably intentional. Faith, after all is the brazen, down-to-earth type, which makes her character even more lovable.
She may not have had as many scenes, but Phoebe Walker held her own in this film. Her role as Zanjoe's ex-girlfriend should have been a cinch, given her commendable performance as that nun in Seklusyon.
To Love Some Buddy is a huge pile of relatable scenarios as told through the lives of two very endearing characters. Maja and Zanjoe go beyond the friendzone in this movie produced by ABS-CBN Films' subsidiary Black Sheep.
It’s a story that could happen—or may have already happened—to you or someone you know, a fluid tale that progresses at a desired pace most of the time.
It reminds us that we don’t always have to look too far to find the one for us; that person might just be under your nose, waiting for you to notice.
Regardless of whether you get the ending you expect, To Love Some Buddy is a film that leaves you feeling satisfied and good about yourself when you leave the cinema.
To Love Some Buddy, graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, is now showing in Philippine cinemas.
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.