‘Fallback’ review: A mixed bag of flimsy feelings
Jason Paul Laxamana’s Fallback opens with a gag it doesn’t need.
Michelle (Rhian Ramos), fresh from a painful break-up, is possessed. Accompanied by a priest, her friends hurry to rid her off her supernatural illness. She – of course – doesn’t get cured. Instead, she curses her friends and their respective love lives. By the gag’s end, she swears to herself that she will never fall in love again.
Several years after her fervent promise, Michelle is again in a relationship which is about to crumble. She suspects that her boyfriend (Daniel Matsunaga) isn’t being loyal to her. I guess that’s the punch-line of the questionable opening gag.
A location manager for films, Michelle, who was scolded by both her director for not being able to secure an alternate house for filming, is reminded by her mentor (Tetchie Agbayani) to always have a fallback, not just for her work but also for her heart. At this point, she chances upon ex-boyfriend Alvin (Zanjoe Marudo) while hunting for more shooting locations, she rekindles the romance, just in case her current relationship doesn’t work out.
The film overdoes its comedy, resulting in an inconsistent tone that mars its attempt at being an engaging romance. Fallback is a love story that doesn’t really need that many farcical situations to work, except that its main conceit is one that is quite morally arguable. Instead of compellingly confronting the issue, Laxamana veils the very many questions arising from the troubling premise with kitsch and gags.
The result however is a romance whose aspired emotions, while admittedly present, are dubious and erratic at best.
Preference for escapism
This isn’t to say that Fallback is just a slapdash montage of romantic missteps.
Laxamana’s amiable portrayal of Michelle’s life as part of a shooting crew gives the formulaic love story a whiff of a unique personality. In fact, it is this facet of the film that feels most forthright and fascinating. It opens the romance to a host of characters like the aging director (Ricky Davao) in the midst of a mid-life creative crisis or the stubbornly loyal intern (Marlo Morel) who wants a fair chance in making it into the industry whose purposes exceed the trivial romantic happiness that Michelle aspires for.
Sadly, what ultimately defeats Fallback is its understandable preference for escapist entertainment, turning the other, more endearing concerns to mere diversions and sideplots that frame the conventional love story. It ends up getting lost in a crowded market of films that exploit the public’s unending fascination with all sorts of affairs of the heart.
There isn’t enough in Fallback’s central romance for the audience to really hold and remember, so it masks its inadequacies with all the jokes and punch-lines it can convincingly churn out. It all ends up a mixed bag of flimsy and erstwhile emotions. – 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.