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Eliza Pryor Nagel
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Jun Lana's 6th film, a wife-swapping melodrama, falters by the third act
'Jun Lana' (qv)'s 6th directorial work, MY NEIGHBOR'S WIFE (2011), is a marital melodrama that starts earnestly enough, has weepy parts in the middle, but doesn't know how to wrap things up in the finale.
Bullet ('Jake Cuenca' (qv)) and Jasmine ('Carla Abellana' (qv)) are seemingly happily married, and their bar business is doing great. Bullet's best friend Aaron ('Dennis Trillo' (qv)) and his wife Cielo ('Lovi Poe' (qv)) don't enjoy the same successful existence, but Aaron is a loyal and hardworking husband. A simple problem reverberates and becomes a mountain of lies, secrets and, ultimately, revenge.
Without spoiling key plots (although one can predict the wife-swapping factor from the title, and poster, alone), suffice it to say that Lana then douses the film in a bowl of pathos, as the four main characters hurt, recriminate, retaliate, reconcile, and try to fix their lives and relationships. Happily, Lana and cast avoid the histrionics (which sometimes Poe and Abellana are prone to, in their TV soaps) one has come to associate with such dramatic fare.
What puzzles me is the indeterminate time Lana (and co-writer 'Denoy Punio' (qv)) spends on Aaron's character. Understandably, his character is the more interesting of the men, since in the beginning he was an faithful husband looking for that one great successful venture that would seal things nicely. As he gradually becomes obsessed with Jasmine, the character of Bullet takes to the sidelines.
Additionally, the two leading men are given flesh-baring scenes, to add to the merry mix of pent-up emotions and betrayals.
Alas, Lana fails to wrap things up nicely, and the ending, at the airport, is just too glib and too pat for words. But the cast is to be commended, and the music of 'Jesse Lucas (I)' enhances the viewer's enjoyment of this wife-swapping melodrama.
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