‘Portrait of my Love’ review: Junk art
The story of Poap Manansala’s Portrait of My Love goes something like this.
Miguel (Polo Ravales), an up-and-coming painter, is so smitten by MonayLisa (Kiray Celis), an art student, that he makes her his muse for a painting that he will display in an art exhibit his uncle (Epy Quizon) had invited him to join. One day, Miguel and MonayLisa are shot by hired thugs. Miguel is hospitalized but MonayLisa is killed. MonayLisa, now a ghost, seeks help from a zany spirit medium (Cai Cortez) to protect her beloved man and to uncover the truth behind her death.
If the story seems oddly familiar, it's because it almost exactly mirrors Jerry Zucker’s Ghost, where Patrick Swayze, a ghost out to protect his beloved woman and to uncover the truth behind his death, famously possesses Whoopi Goldberg, landing the charismatic comedienne a Best Supporting Actress nod in the Oscars. Except for the entire art angle which the movie only stereotypes anyway, Portrait of My Love, copies each and every twist and turn of Zucker’s supernatural romance.
But it isn’t the witless lack of originality that is Portrait of My Love’s biggest sin.
It is its glaring laziness and its shameful refusal to be truly imaginative. There are very lengthy stretches in the film that resemble karaoke videos. It also doesn’t help that the score sounds like something that a hack would cook up using a cheap synthesizer. The dialogues are embarrassingly bland. The staging of the scenes is dull and dreary. There is just nothing in the movie that could push it to be even just a tad bit entertaining. Everything is so half-baked that the earnestness that could sometimes make an observably bad film strangely fun out of sheer campiness is just not there.
Not even a parody
At the very least, Portrait of My Love should be funny.
After all, this is a film with characters whose names are MonayLisa and Dabinti. It is almost as if the entire thing is really just a parody. However, if Manansala’s movie was intended to be a parody, it is quite a poor one because none of its gags land. The jokes are just utterly miserable.
In fact, Celis, who can always turn the flattest of roles into something of a comic relief, is just mirthless here.
It also doesn’t help that Ravales just seems to be going through the motions of lousily mouthing his lines and standing still like a piece of driftwood. However, the real culprit here is just Manansala’s uninspired direction and his miserable cluelessness that his supposedly hilarious rip-off of Ghost is never going to fly with derivative punchlines and tired slapstick.
Simply put, sitting through Portrait of My Love is pointless torture.
There is more pleasure to be had in watching paint dry. – 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.
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