Not just another light comedy
STARBYTES - Butch Francisco () - March 3, 2007 - 12:00am
I’ve always had faith in the works of Cathy Garcia-Molina ever since I saw her first film — an episode in the trilogy Bcuz of U (the one with Hero Angeles and Sandara Park in it).

I liked even better her succeeding projects — the full-length films Close to You (with John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo and Sam Milby) and You Are the One (with Toni Gonzaga and Sam Milby).

No doubt, Molina is now one of local cinema’s most reliable and bankable directors. Her films make good at the box-office and also get mostly positive reviews — like this one.

You Got Me! is actually better than her past works — topping even You Are the One, which I thoroughly enjoyed (it’s the one where Toni Gonzaga gets back at Sam Milby for denying her a US visa).

Molina’s film once more stars Gonzaga and Milby, but they throw in Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) alumnus Zanjoe Marudo so that it doesn’t look like a repeat of You Are the One.

Set mostly in Manila proper, You Got Me! casts Toni Gonzaga as a tough female cop afraid of romantic relationships. She is wary of falling in love because she sees how her cop father (Johnny Delgado) has become so grief-stricken after the death of her mother.

In her place of work, she knows that another cop — Sam Milby — likes her, but he is the nerd of all nerds and is afraid to profess his love for her.

Before he could even make his first move, Marudo, a vendor of pirated VCDs and DVDs, gets into the picture and there is a guessing game who gets Toni Gonzaga in the end.

Of course, you know who wins the girl’s heart as the end credits roll, but it’s the getting there that’s fun. This is most enjoyable in the part where there is a long chase scene and Toni’s life is threatened. In this entire sequence, you just do not know who gets to save Toni — and it’s anyone’s guess.

I also find very inventive the way they get rid of the third party: He isn’t killed or made to look very bad. I can’t tell you how he exits, but it’s a very innovative way of disposing of an important character in a love triangle.

The great thing about the movie is that there is always a logical explanation as to why this person became like this and like that. How Sam Milby becomes so insecure and awkward with everything he does is even provided with a believable background. Surely, they also try to find a way to work around Sam Milby’s defective Tagalog, but unfortunately, Cathy Garcia-Molina can only do so much about that. In all fairness to Sam, there really is an actor in him waiting to get out, except that the language barrier really gets in the way. It’s a problem only he can solve and frankly it’s already getting to be pain listening to him speak that way.

Due to Milby’s inability to speak in the vernacular fluently, he is effortlessly eclipsed by newcomer Zanjoe Marudo. Marudo surprisingly turns out to be a competent actor with a strong screen presence. This is an impressive screen debut for the PBB finalist and he should be ready for leading man roles in his succeeding films.

Even the other Pinoy Big Brother graduate Jayson Gainza turns in an effective performance here in the film. Playing a janitor in the police headquarters, Jayson is hilarious in his scenes without resorting to trying-hard tactics. He is just naturally funny.

As the leading lady, Toni Gonzaga fares even better here than in her previous films. In You Got Me!, her screen character could easily have been a caricature, except that — with proper guidance from Molina — she manages to deliver an endearing performance that charms the viewers no end.

The best part of You Got Me!, however, is the screenplay written by Raz de la Torre and Francis Lau. While it is not the greatest story ever told, it is very creative and you see that the writers put their best effort into it so that there are no loose ends in the script. Finally, a local movie that doesn’t have lapses in the story!

To tell you honestly, I was prepared to dismiss You Got Me! as just another light comedy — the usual stuff that tries to be cute. And I thought that Cathy Garcia-Molina would have run out of creative juices by now.

I was wrong and I admit — you got me there!

CATHY GARCIA-MOLINA MILBY MOLINA SAM MILBY TONI GONZAGA YOU ARE THE ONE YOU GOT ME
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