‘Cara X Jagger’ review: Easy on the eyes, light on substance
It is obvious that Ice Idanan’s latest film aspires for currency.
Its title abandons the conjunction "and," replacing it with a hipper and cooler ‘X’ which telegraphs a desire to have a more youthful vibe. It replaces the traditional notions of a love story being about eternal togetherness to the more practical perspective that romances are erstwhile collaborations.
Old and tired
Cara X Jagger, in a way, has all the ingredients of what it aspires for.
The conceit, while surely teetering towards being sheer gimmickry, has promise of hefty relationship discourse. Cara (Jasmine Curtis-Smith) has a rare condition that makes her unable to forget. Jagger (Ruru Madrid), her ex-boyfriend, is suffering from amnesia because of a motorcycle accident. Jagger’s grandfather (Dante Rivero) then recruits Cara to help his grandson regain his memories. She hesitatingly accepts the task, forcing her to relive both joyful and woeful memories with a man she discovers she still has feelings for.
In a perfect scenario, the seemingly mismatched tandem of a girl who can’t forget and a boy who longs to remember offers opportunities of profound observations on both the nature of heartache and the complications of reconciliation.
Sadly, Idanan’s film doesn’t seem to ambition any semblance of gravity in its portrayal of a perfectly imperfect romantic relationship. Cara X Jagger aims for cuteness. It seems to go the way of least resistance, peppering the oft-used formula of a shallow heartbreak being mined for escapist fantasies of a more dramatic second chance at love with a hook that it never develops into a novel discourse. The film wants to be fresh but its bones, its skeleton, its very structure, is old and tired.
Thankfully not noxious
Thankfully, Cara X Jagger isn’t that noxious a film.
While lazy writing has led Cara’s decision to again be part of Jagger’s life foolish or unconvincingly motivated, there are at least efforts by Idanan to make that decision less an adjunct of the problematic vice of most local romances – its love-struck women always end up chasing after their men – and more a facet of Cara’s benevolence. It helps that Curtis-Smith portrays Cara with an easing lightness that sometimes behooves the baggage she is carrying. Sure, the film wastes a grand opportunity to truly discuss the complications of love and heartbreak for easy entertainment. It at least makes its trite escapism as guiltless as possible.
The film has dozens of problems. It is awkwardly paced, squarely plotted, and more than a tad too jolly and jokey for its own good.
Its structure feels like a trap for predictability, with each setup for Jagger to remember an event in the past being treated like a puzzle piece in the supposed mystery that is his breakup with Cara. The break-up, however, is the least interesting aspect of the narrative. Cara X Jagger fancies itself to be a quick lesson on the anatomy of a failed romance but only succeeds in oversimplifying it and turning it into a withered fantasy that is only good for temporary thrills and giggles.
Fleeting and forgettable
Cara X Jagger is easy on the eyes and light on substance.
Like the romance it depicts, its delights are fleeting and forgettable. – 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.