'Fangirl Fanboy' review: Sometimes adorable, mostly forgettable
The premise of Barry Gonzalez's Fangirl Fanboy is pregnant with possibilities.
Sadly, it chooses the most convenient route to achieve its goal of promoting erstwhile pleasures, rendering it into nothing more than fluff that is just too easy to forget amid a flurry of other romances that actually exert some effort at novelty.
Inconsequential love story
Ollie Francisco (Julian Trono) aspires to be a famous actor.
His only chance at stardom is to audition for the lead role in the Filipino remake of a popular Korean soap opera about a wealthy bachelor's romance with his servant who happens to be a robot. When Aimee (Ella Cruz), a dubber for the robot-servant who also happens to be desperately in love with Ollie, learns that her crush is in the same building, she rushes to the auditions to rekindle the connection that she thought they had during their first encounter. As it turns out, Aimee's presence improves Ollie's performance, leading Ollie to request Aimee to help him land his dream role.
Fangirl Fanboy works best when it suggests a magical connection between the two, such as when Ollie's usually histrionic performance transforms into something more subdued just because Aimee is the one he's reciting lines with.
Unfortunately, Gonzalez seems to prefer the more formulaic route, relying not on the quirky repercussions of having Ollie's blooming career rest on his relationship with Aimee but on the overused grooves of the genre. Fangirl Fanboy slowly but surely unravels to be a very elementary teenybopper romance, an inconsequential love story that has nothing else to offer but more of the same conflicts and resolutions that have become staple to escapist movies that dodge any sort of ambition.
It helps that Trono and Cruz are very amiable performers. Much of whatever charm Fangirl Fanboy has hinges on the ability of the two young actors to convince their audience that their love story is one that is worth watching despite the glaring lack of originality.
Trono, whenever he is not acting as one half of a brand new love team with all the longing stares and boilerplate flirting, is actually fine. The scenes where he is actually required to act as a son conflicted between migrating to the United States to be with his absentee parents and staying behind to pursue his ambitions are somewhat affecting in a very limited sense.
Cruz, on the other hand, is able to turn the troubling and inexplicable desperation of her lovesick character into something that could be in certain instances, adorable.
It's all harmless fluff.
Its glaring naiveté neither adds to the charm nor frustrates. What is most disappointing about Fangirl Fanboy is that it already had the opportunity to be something more, especially with its decision to place its love story in a specific setting that involves the obvious fakery of the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, the film opts to be just cute, resulting in something that I doubt anyone will ever be a fan of. – 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.