'My Fairy Tail Love Story' review: Fleeting fantasies

Perci Intalan’s My Fairy Tail Love Story is at best, a charming trifle, a colorful and dainty little thing that in its earnest ambition to unflinchingly delight, tends to teeter towards being too trivial.

Unwelcome fins

The film is about Chantel (Janella Salvador), a spoiled and selfish girl, who is cursed to spend a portion of her day as a mermaid. With the assistance of childhood friend Noah (Elmo Magalona) who believes that all she needs to cure herself of the curse is a kiss of true love, she does everything to get close to Ethan (Kiko Estrada), a DJ who she believes is the boy who would rid her of her unwelcome fins. (READ: 7 fun facts about the ElNella movie 'My Fairy Tail Love Story')

NIGHTMARE. Chantel screams after getting a mermaid's tail.

NIGHTMARE. Chantel screams after getting a mermaid's tail.

Intalan sprinkles the film with all sorts of quirks.

Chantel, when she’s half-fish, sings when stressed. Noah, who secretly pines for his best friend, is constantly chased by Chantel’s own best friend (Kiray Celis), who near the end of the film reveals a disarmingly pleasant surprise. Intalan paints the film with all the brightest colors. The sets are designed to grant the film a consistent sheen of existing as a fairy tale-version of the real world.

In that sense, the film is somewhat successful. My Fairy Tail Love Story is visually lush and Salvador is infectiously giddy. Pervaded by an air of endless frivolity, the film is quite a bundle of glee and giggles. Sadly, it doesn’t endeavor to be anything more than that.

Fleeting quirks

The film’s many quirks have a erstwhile effect.

IN LOVE WITH A FRIEND. Noah (Elmo Magalona) is unsure how to express his feelings for Chantel.

IN LOVE WITH A FRIEND. Noah (Elmo Magalona) is unsure how to express his feelings for Chantel.

When their novelty wears off, they tend to become an annoyance, a liability to the erstwhile appeal of Intalan’s flavorful work. The running gags have very limited legs, and when the comedy gets tired, My Fairy Tail Love Story exposes its veiled weaknesses. There really isn’t an interesting romance or a compelling riff of fairy tale tropes to carry it. It ultimately succumbs to the silliness that initially was its reliable crutch.

Sure, there is cleverness in what the film is trying to do, in how it wants to subvert the mechanics of fairy tale romances to suit the current trend for bittersweet endings.

However, it has overdone the goofiness, with its characters tending to stern stereotypes who aren’t open to being taken seriously, to be anything more than constructs who every now and then are funny. Intalan swerves his film towards some profoundness a little bit too late. The film still pulls of the finale’s emotional stunt, but like its very many quirks, it is fleeting and forgettable.

Cute

TRUE LOVE'S KISS. Will Noah break the curse of Chantel?

TRUE LOVE'S KISS.

Will Noah break the curse of Chantel?

Still, My Fairy Tail Love Story is cute. It is what it is, a fairy tale, a love story, an erstwhile diversion. –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.