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Julian (played by Derek Ramsay) is on the look out for a translator who knows how to translate English to Filipino to teach him the language for certain reasons. After several interviews, he hired Tere (played by Jennylyn Mercado) to teach him Filipino. Along the way, Tere and Julian become friends who tell each other's love relationship, which in turn are very unfortunate. Towards the end, Tere falls for Julian, but it seems like Julian is back with his ex-girlfriend (played by Isabel Oli) - the very reason why he hired a Tere.Written by
Our local romantic films are usually built for showbiz relevancy or a cash-grab that doesn't go beyond than forcing the audience to "kilig" at every moment with the couple. English Only, Please is one of the rare that naturally makes the audience root for the romance. The formula of the genre is inevitable, it sometimes compromises what has achieved, but the characters are already compelling. It's sometimes doesn't matter if the two would end up together, placing them in sorts of situation simply makes the film engaging. English Only, Please is the type of mainstream local romcom that we don't usually see and only by its genuine charm, there is a huge value to it.
The story is still bound by clichés, but what blinds us from that fact is how it develops the relationship of the leading couple. It is sometimes enough for the two to just hang out to overcome their complicated personal issues, how the film grows on their connection is what makes it utterly likable. It just cleverly fleshes out both of the characters, thus their honest discussions easily make every moment engaging. The film is also having fun with its own idea, as it makes a laugh and fascination about Julian's fitting in to the new language and culture he is learning. It never goes to the strange or over-the-top level of its humor, it's just plain truthful social outlook.
The familiar elements were almost invisible, until it becomes a big deal in the end where it concludes with an emotional climax. That is when it finally feels contrived, finding an easier way to finish the story. While it's still charming, that conventional turn feels kind of a step down compared to what it has accomplished. But that third act is too small to overpower the rest of the movie. The most notable merit here is the writing, it just smartly handles its characters and often pull off some witty dialogue. The performances also bring a wonderful effect. Derek Ramsay does a good job at developing his character's growth into this environment. Jennylyn Mercado mostly carries the whole film and she brings plenty of charms to her character.
Compared to many local romcoms today, English Only, Please feels refreshing. It is something that you can totally admit that you had a good time with it, specifically to those aren't fans to these types of movies. It still gets awkwardly conventional at the end, but most of it is pretty heartfelt, smart and funny to make for a satisfying romantic film, plus it has a lead couple that are reasonable enough to care about. I guess that is already enough for English Only, Please to be a pretty good film.
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