Creativity is scarce in Paano na Kaya?, a Gerald Anderson-Kim Chiu schmaltz-fest that remains notable insofar as its title isn't a one-line-fits-all-rom-com pulled from an English-language ballad. (It's a one-line-fits-all-rom-com pulled from a Tagalog-language ballad.) Which is to say, it doles out the straightforward sugar rush an undemanding audience expects -- from Anderson's abs, to Chiu's chirpily oriental schtick routine, to a story that goes deep into romantic-comedy territory without innovation that only the most ardently romantic will swoon past the painful contrivances. In a broadly written plot where all the situations, characters, and dialog seemed to have popped out of a teenage diary, Mae (Chiu) is secretly head-over-heels with best pal Bogs (Anderson), only she's too civilized to tell him and his girlfriend Anna (Melissa Ricks). But when Anna dumps him for her boss, Bogs is left to cry on Mae's shoulders and -- wait for it -- he falls in love with her. Journey is more important for rom-coms, so the saying goes, but the venture in Paano na Kaya? is as predictable as the destination itself, brazenly knocking off ideas from its predecessors, including excruciating code-switching to Chinese one-liners that would make Mother Lily and Joel Lamangan blush. Director Ruel Bayani go far beyond kitsch by spelling out the romance in the clumsiest, most obvious way imaginable: Chiu and Anderson talk about passion of love on a fire truck in the middle of a burning compound. Such attempt highlights the fact that there's far too little brilliance to these hackneyed proceedings to make it anything more than a reason to see the pair in a larger screen.
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