'Luck at First Sight' review: Cute and simple
Dan Villegas’ Luck at First Sight is a romance of simple consequences and even simpler pleasures.
The film’s conceit is very straightforward.
Joma (Jericho Rosales) is a debt-ridden gambler who endeavors to win enough money to prevent his family home from being sold. He is advised to seek out a "life charm" – the ultumate lucky charm – which will reverse his misfortunes. Diane (Bela Padilla), who herself needs money to get her sick father (Dennis Padilla) a kidney transplant to save his life, turns out to be Joma’s life charm. Whenever they are together, Joma’s luck changes for the better.
As each other's life charms, their only rule is that neither of them can fall in love with each other.
Predictability is obviously not a concern for Villegas and scriptwriter Ays de Guzman. The plot of Luck at First Sight follows a trajectory that holds very little surprises. The main conflict has already been telegraphed right from the cleverly animated introduction that lays down the fantastical premise of this uncomplicated rom-com. Joma and Diane are bound to fall in love, and the consequence of their eventual romance are their individual goals.
Essentially, the allure of Luck at First Sight is fueled not by any desire or ambition to reengineer the formula. It is, instead, fueled by an admirable insistence on peppering the familiar grooves of the narrative with nuances that make the characters even more endearing than expected.
Rosales has carved a remarkable career out of playing characters whose struggles in either love or life are laced with all manners of desperation. His characters are brashly imperfect, yet he breathes into them a certain charisma that makes one forget all the anomalies, at least, while the manipulation of the romance persists.
His character here is similarly situated. Stubborn to the point of being unreasonably obnoxious, Joma is only worth loving because he is conveniently written as the man fated to be loved by beleaguered Diane. Thankfully, Rosales effortlessly grants the character a palatable levity that overpowers his glaring weaknesses. Padilla, who could have simply portrayed Diane as the typical hopeless romantic who would fall for anyone with adequate charms, adds emotional layers to her characters.
Villegas unfortunately shortcuts his way around the romantic process by relying heavily on montages and musical cues. However, he is also tenacious when it comes to craft, even if his material is one of more pedestrian ambitions.
The film insists on a look that is starkly different from most of the glossy candy-colored love stories that are being routinely churned out. Mycko David’s cinematography is both gorgeous and mature. Seemingly aware that while the film is a syrupy romance, it also depicts a setting that involves a tinge of darkness, of illicitness, and of greed.
Well-made escapist fluff
Luck at First Sight is a well-made piece of escapist fluff.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t overreach. It stays within the limits of very meager intentions to simply delight with what is humorous, lovely, and familiar. It does not overburden its conceit that is admittedly cute in its moralistic simplicity. Love trumps fortune. That’s basically it. In the end, we all know everything it puts out are fantasies. Nevertheless, the film has already done its magic. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.