'My Ex and Whys' Review: Stereotypical love
The message of Cathy Garcia-Molina’s My Ex and Whys is nothing new. It’s the same message that she has been repeating over and over again.
Love conquers all.
Love conquers all
In You Are the One (2006), a romance between Toni Gonzaga’s government worker and Sam Milby’s expat, love conquers differences in cultural upbringing. In A Very Special Love (2008), a romance between Sarah Geronimo’s personal assistant and John Lloyd Cruz’s stoic billionaire, love conquers differences in wealth and social status. In She’s Dating the Gangster (2014), a romance between Kathryn Bernardo’s simple schoolgirl and Daniel Padilla’s school bully, love conquers time.
My Ex and Whys is hardly subtle at all with what it wants love to wage war against this time.
Cali (Liza Soberano) is a blogger whose inspiration for the questions she posts online is her prolonged disdain towards her ex who cheated on her. Gio (Enrique Gil) is that ex. They rekindle communications on social media for all the world to see and participate in. Eventually, the spats and debates the two ex-lovers broadcast online be relationship sparks a debate, a rabid fight between those who favor Cali’s distrust with all men and Gio’s fervent desire to prove her wrong.
Garcia-Molina starts the movie by shaping her protagonists’ camps whose being relentlessly at odds with each other is mined for comedy, with Gio and Cali’s ruses to upend each other providing the film some humor.
Cali comes from a household of women scorned by men they loved and continue to love. Gio, on the other hand, is surrounded by kin who brag about their skillful infidelities. Cali capitalizes on gender stereotypes to put down men during her online tirades, while Gio resists the urge to make a mistake that will prove Cali right.
My Ex and Whys capitalizes on gender stereotypes, whether true or not, to separate the two former lovers, allowing love to conquer them.
Cute, commercial and silly
The movie sadly doesn’t explore its possibly lofty themes beyond what is cute, commercial and silly.
It doesn’t delve deep enough to dig whether or not Cali’s preoccupation with stereotyping the opposite sex has merit. It just paints a comical scenario to backdrop its familiar love story with, and nothing more. It is thoroughly entertaining, although at times, its persistence on painting its characters too simply turn them into noxiously close-minded individuals.
It is to Soberano’s credit that she is able to charm her way out of her character’s inexplicable immaturity. Gil, on the other hand, plays the suffering ex-boyfriend with ample enthusiasm. If My Ex and Whys is meant to be a simple showcase of a love team’s power to arouse fantasy and make-believe, then it seems like it is all worth it.
The movie however has a lot of interesting ideas, which it squarely abandons all for the sake of formula. It uses the mechanics of the internet and social media where opinions are pitted against each other as an adjunct of the seemingly irreparable relationship and back-and-forth squabbles of Cali and Gio. It’s all interesting, except that Garcia-Molina only pursues the idea to push her endeavor to champion escapist love.
Love wins again
My Ex and Whys doesn’t really make that indelible mark in a market that is overcrowded with all sorts of love stories. In the end, it is just another romance that mouths the same old motto that love wins, even against the stereotypes it doesn’t try to break and instead it boldly reinforces. – 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.