Just the 3 of Us tells a typical love story that hopeless romantics will certainly dig within the first fifteen minutes – a stranger walks into your life, opens up your heart, and changes you forever. Cruz plays the ambitious airline pilot Uno Abusado, determined to earn his captaincy only to have his plans derailed after a drunken one-night stand with a random girl, who is later revealed to be Mercado's C.J. Manalo. Three weeks later, C.J. drops the bomb at Uno: She is pregnant and he is the father. This forces them to face their responsibility under the same roof until a proper paternity test can be administered.
We've attested in previous movies that Cruz and Mercado are versatile actors that have a lot more to offer outside the rom-com realm (see: Honor Thy Father and Rosario). On the other hand, director Garcia-Molina seems unable to crawl her way out of her comfort zone, with her subsequent offerings proving tedious and formulaic. The movie bears CGM's trademarks all over: Polar-opposite strangers falling in love with each other? Check. Lead characters whose emotional core relies on virtues of family and forgiveness? Check. Friends (which must at all costs include a token gay friend) who motivate the lead characters toward the right track, because apparently they can't seem to make wise decisions on their own? Check. While, yes, the market for local rom-com is lucrative, it is sad that this generation may never be used to films outside this genre soon.
While the film shines more in its small comedic moments, the dramatic aspect of the story does not take flight to make things truly memorable. The conflicts here seem too mechanical – a cost paid to easily showcase the duality of the characters. Initially, Cruz's character Uno is unbelievably rude as he keeps pushing C.J. away for a large amount of screen time (mainly because the film's comedy is mostly drawn during these parts). But when the film comes to his deus ex machina-like change of heart, things begin to feel abrupt and contrived. Mercado's character, meanwhile, does not paint a good picture of empowering feminism. What image it manages to portray is that some women nowadays are willing to swallow their pride just to attach themselves to an attractive and successful man.
Just the 3 of Us achieves its goal of showcasing everything that should be expected of a John Lloyd-Jennylyn movie, but sadly, it stops there and refuses to break free from the conventions of its genre. Still, it's an entertaining piece that isn't short of charm. The problem lies on these cutout stories that's being produced year-round. Should these 99.99% tried and tested rom-com products carry on in the future, with fans that go buy into it, we can expect no new stories, only new characters (if we're lucky).
Full review here: http://www.filmpolicereviews.com/reviews/just-the-3-of-us
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