‘The Write Moment’ review: Barely beyond clever

Dominic Lim’s The Write Moment rests on an undoubtedly clever conceit.

Profound heartache

Wedding videographer Dave (Jerald Napoles), evidently distraught from a recent breakup with his long-time girlfriend Joyce (Valeen Montenegro), decides to write a screenplay inspired by his heartache.

Things get weird when his screenplay starts to take over his life, with him having to follow each line and direction as he has written, lest the scene be repeated over and over again. Of course, he has written his screenplay to have an ending that is happy, one that is exactly the opposite of the breakup he had to endure. And he ultimately ends up with Joyce, joyful in marital bliss.

As it turns out, happiness without the freedom to choose has its own consequences.

HEARTBREAK. Dave (Jerald) is devastated after his girlfriend tells him she wants to breakup with him.

HEARTBREAK. Dave (Jerald) is devastated after his girlfriend tells him she wants to breakup with him.

The Write Moment aptlymines its conceit for comedy.

Wisely casted, Napoles, a comedian whose suave demeanor works hand-in-hand with his imposing physical attributes, shines as a hapless and hopeless romantic in the beginning of the film.

It is during the scenes where Lim carves humorous situations out of characters coming to terms with the narrative’s fantastical element that the film becomes most interesting even to the point of subverting romance tropes that have become tired from overuse. The film works when it is all about the gags and the silliness of our collective obsession over heartbreaks. (READ: It's Jerald Napoles and Valeen Montenegro's time to shine in 'The Write Moment') 

More serious notes

However, it is during its navigation towards the conceit’s more serious notes that the film falters.

SECOND CHANCE? Will Joyce (Valeen) give her relationship with Dave another chance?

The Write Moment literally slows down. It crawls towards territories where jokes become out of place and unfortunately, it just doesn’t work. The film’s inelegant and overreaching attempt to be more than the clever conceit that it so expertly exploits turns almost everything that is enjoyable about it sour.

It is just that the film never gets to that point where its observations about love and romance are either novel or profound. The film fails to escape the shallowness of its brightest idea. It stumbles in its overeager conversion of its central gimmick into a point of conversation about the freedoms we lose when we’re in love.

Lim exerts too much effort in ensuring that the conceit works that he neglects defining the relationship between Dave and Joyce. All the audience really knows about the relationship is how deeply hurt Dave becomes when it dissipates, but there is really no basis as to why the relationship matters plot-wise. 

JUST A DREAM? How long will Dave realize that the love story he wants may not get the happy ending?

Innovative endeavors

The Write Moment has its heart in the right place.

Its innovative endeavors are definitely welcome. Sadly, the film barely goes beyond being clever.

In the end, it really is all about the gimmick, with its discourse about love and heartaches turning out to be more of a diversion from the more enjoyable comedy.  – 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