‘Feelennial’ review: Sloppy and second-rate insights
To be fair to Rechie del Carmen’s Feelennial, it isn’t exactly a worthless picture.
There are humorous sequences here and there. Note that they aren’t exactly novel or inventive examples of comedy and are more suited in sitcoms than feature films, but that they are in an otherwise lackluster film makes it a bit more palatable.
Sorely lacking in ambition
There is nothing like put-on irreverence to help a film sorely lacking in ambition get a shimmer of much-needed irony or sarcasm. It also helps that Ai-Ai delas Alas and Bayani Agbayani are actually very fine when deprecating themselves for the sake of laughter. The rest of the film, when it isn’t focused on comedy, is just dull, sloppy and rife with second-rate insights.
Yet Feelennial has all the elements of a truly penetrating critique of current attitudes. It has a storyline that has spent and aging hopeless romantics navigating a whole new world of instant romance, convenient technology, and shallow appearances to find true love. Sadly, it is only interested in scratching the surface, in gunning for giggles instead of compelling outlooks. It is hollow.
The main plot centers on Madame Bato-Bato (delas Alas), a wealthy widower, who in a party ends up hazily locking lips with Chito (Agbayani), a lottery winner who has already given up on love. They never learn of each other’s identities, even to the point of actually meeting and ending up as enemies because of their respective biases. Desperate for love, they end up looking for potential partners in a dating app using profile pictures that aren’t theirs. They serendipitously match, not knowing that they are rivals in real life, and also not knowing that they were the ones who shared a passionate smooch that fateful night.
The conceit isn’t exactly new, but Del Carmen conjures quite a few clever encounters to maximize delas Alas and Agbayani’s entertainingly absurd chemistry.
Concentrated on the misadventures
Feelennial could have concentrated on Madame Bato-Bato and Chito’s misadventures.
It could have carved a pleasant comedy of errors out of the conglomeration of arguments and misunderstandings that the two would-be lovers would have to go through before ending up happy. Sure, it won’t make Feelennial into a work of art, but at least it wouldn’t be ridden with lulls and trivial life lessons. It would have just been enjoyable through and through.
Sadly, the film sees the need to fill itself with unnecessary sideplots and distracting pointless characters.
Sharing the spotlight with Madame Bato-Bato and Chito’s romance is the bland relationship of their respective wards (Arvic Tan and Raffy Roque). The diversion could have worked if Tan and Roque were given characters that weren’t the stereotypical representations of millennials in their virtues and caprices.
Unfortunately, Del Carmen isn’t just that interested in really making something out of the storyline and insists on blatant mediocrity.
Feelennial isn’t unwatchable. It is just grossly unremarkable. —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.