I Do (Veronica Velasco, 2010)
Sometimes a kiss is just not enough. After the redundancy and tedium of romancing, fighting, and forgiving that has been the standard storyline of most if not all recent romantic comedies, the pay-off of seeing the onscreen lovers lock lips in slow motion has been quite unrewarding. Tradition demands that the only acceptable conclusion to any romance is a wedding. Veronica Velasco’s I Do endeavors to innovate on traditions by telling the tale, which according to her and co-writer Jinky Laurel is based on a true story, of a couple whose attempts at being wed are often foiled.
Yumi (Erich Gonzalez) is a hopeless romantic whose mission in life is to find the one to tie the knot with in the dream wedding that she has been obsessing over since her younger years. Lance (Enchong Dee), her Chinese boyfriend, is suddenly faced with the decision of marrying her to the chagrin of her strictly traditional Chinese family, when she discovers that their seemingly innocent romance has produced for them an offspring. Amidst cultural differences, financial un-readiness, overbearing families, and the incoherent advices of close friends, they struggle, stumble, and carelessly rush to the finish line, the dream wedding Yumi has been longing for.
Gonzalez and Dee do make a charming couple. It helps that their performances here are grounded on romantic naiveté and youthful cluelessness, making their fated scenario and their sometimes incredulous reactions to that scenario more believable. The supports, on the other hand, are a mixed bag. The performances of veteran comedians Dennis Padilla and Pokwang infuse Yumi’s humble but earnest parents an amiable sheen. The tacked-on friends, with the exception of Janus del Prado’s pathetically enamored best friend who spurts pessimistic love quotes to hide his feelings for Yumi, are more annoying than alluring, adding more to the unnecessary clunk of the film.
Velasco acknowledges the comedy in the obsession with weddings. As the apt conclusion to any love story, the ceremony represents a collective desire of any lover to cap the uncertainties of pre-marital romantic relationships with something that resembles a fairy tale ending. I Do both flourishes and wallows in its overt comedic intent. Although very careful not to tread past the boundaries of what formula dictates, the writing is mostly witty. However, there seems to be an overabundance of wit and a redundancy of some of the comedic efforts, to the point that the dramatic parts, the portions that feel like the soul of the film, are pushed to the margins. It’s not that the film is not funny. With Dennis Padilla and Pokwang lending their comedic mettle to the already absurd situations conjured by Velasco and Laurel, it’s impossible not to be swayed to at least chuckle at some of the gags. Yet the comedy or perhaps the brand of humor utilized that hinders the film from being anything more than a joyous although momentary diversion.
I Do ends not with a kiss, not with a wedding, but in a heartfelt portrait of familial acceptance. It’s the romantic comedy graduating from the romance and the comedy, bursting the bubble that the lovers created for themselves and realizing that the world is not all about them and the exploits they have encountered in the name of their infallible romance. It is also about other people: the parents that can only long to see their daughter happy, the parents that believe they solely know what’s best for their child, the friends, and the dejected lover. Romances should never end with a kiss, or a wedding, or the promise of love for the rest of their now united lives. I Do, for all its faults and indulgences, invested in an ending that feels like a truly happily ever after.
(Cross-published in Twitch.)