Real-life sisters Toni and Alex Gonzaga enjoy a close relationship, and they take that easy rapport to the big screen via their Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2018 entry, Mary, Marry Me.
Toni and Alex play sisters Mary Jane and Mary Anne, respectively. Theu grow up as best friends after they lose their parents in a vehicular accident.
Mary Jane decides to leave her younger sister to the care of their U.S.-bound aunt, thinking that Mary Anne will have a better future abroad.
Mary Anne refuses to go but her Ate Mary Jane promises to follow her to the U.S., so she obeys in the hope that they’ll be reunited in no time.
However, it takes years before they see each other again, when Mary Jane already runs her own wedding and events planning company and Mary Anne comes home with her fiancé, Pete (Sam Milby), who happens to be an ex-boyfriend of Mary Jane.
In fulfillment of their girlhood promise, Mary Anne asks her Ate Mary Jane to be her maid of honor (she used to call it maid of horror) and likewise the wedding planner.
Mary Anne has taken upon herself to give her long-lost sister the best wedding but conflicts arise that eventually open up old wounds and unresolved issues.
In the end, though, the sisters prove that blood is, indeed, thicker than water.
Toni and Alex effortlessly show their characters’ sisterly bond onscreen, particularly in their comedic scenes and heartwarming moments.
They are also effective in their dramatic scenes, like when they confront each other over Pete.
Alex is known for her wacky personality and she goes to town for her Americanized character with her exaggerated accent and mannerisms.
She’s able to show the different sides of Mary Anne, from a hurting sister to an insecure girlfriend to a vindictive bride.
Toni is subdued in this movie compared to her past projects, and she seems almost like yielding the spotlight to her younger sister.
She can’t help being the supportive Ate Mary Jane, and it shows not only because her character calls for it.
Sam goes back to his leading man roots in this movie while he plays an offbeat role in the top-rating teleserye, Halik.
As Pete, he makes a reference to Halik’s other characters, and it becomes a funny aside.
The movie has a strong conflict that scriptwriters Mika Garcia-Lagman and Juvy Galamiton and director RC Delos Reyes failed to maximize its potential thematic effects.
For starters, Mary Jane and Pete’s past relationship is compressed in mere three scenes: the first time they met, the time they became a couple, and the time he proposed to her.
Worse, there’s only one scene showing Mary Anne and Pete as a couple in the U.S., and that’s when they first make a connection to each other.
As a result, MMFF audiences cannot root for either pairing and don’t understand Pete’s choice in the end because there isn’t much said or shown about his past and present relationships.
Toni and Alex are not just actors in the movie as they also served as executive producers.
Toni’s newly formed business venture, TINCAN Productions, produced Mary, Marry Me, for its parent company, TEN17, which is, in turn, owned by Toni’s filmmaker husband, Paul Soriano.
The sisters should be encouraged to get more into film production.
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.