Theodore Boborol’s VINCE & KATH & JAMES is an enjoyably bubbly teen romcom for millenials that surprises and relentlessly charms – untangling a three-angled love story that rises and falls with unhinged sweetness, containing a lovingly juvenile spirit uplifted by outstanding performances from a fresh, bright and enthusiastic cast. Everyone appearing onscreen here seems to be enjoying their roles – most notably, Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto who step their game up and deliver something worth cherishing for everyone to get giddy from. For two wonderful hours, these two actors’ range is experimented and played with, bringing out both their sweet, romantic sides efficacious to send butterflies down everyone’s stomach, as well as their dramatic edge that would have one shook.
Garcia impressively pulls off a John Lloyd Cruz, and undeniably, the role assigned to him and his remarkable delivery of lines bursting with exuberance speaks for his brilliance; making us reminisce the signature acting style of the prolific actor and at the same time promising us that this young lad will have a gleaming career as evidenced by such an endlessly entertaining performance that he had generously given here. The way he moves, talks, and stimulates emotions that the film intends him to is unmistakably Bobrol’s own way of showing that Joshua Garia could probably be the next big thing; a surprise that one never saw coming their way, a teen performance that never relents, and always meets our satisfaction – giving us more than enough reason to honestly admire him and making us want to see more from him, possibly in a future role that further challenges his newly-revealed prowess.
Barretto, much like her co-star, lifts up a buoyant atmosphere that gives her character a splendid quality amidst the norms that it unavoidably arrives at, fleshing out a personality that becomes easy to like. Looking at its narrative that surprisingly deceives, it tries to stray away from the conventions of its genre, and almost successfully strides along a path that seals in an adorable freshness; locking us in for a wide-eyed romance tale that virtually sticks to real-life, creating a relatability so adherent that it basically speaks for the manner of how love maneuvers in a technological age where everything seems to be covered in synthetics.
Superficiality and truthfulness of affections are both laid out and neatly smeared onto its characters with the usage of a literal plot device – the cellphone; heavily but effectively emphasizing on their feelings, flashing text/chat messages onscreen that somehow, lets us verify their authenticity – presenting us with a task that is as fun and exciting as it could get – making Boborol’s perspective easy to buy as a whole, even with Ronnie Alonte’s dimensionless acting and other obstacles that attempt to block the film’s desired path of a road paved smoothly with little to no cracks – only to find out that as it swerves over to that lane, it unavoidably ends up crashing over a predictable course that cracks open a debilitated formula that gets spilled all over it.
But even if a potentially destructive incident had occurred in its narrative composition, the hipness of the director’s trendy vision still completely hooks our attention – successfully detracting ourselves from its visible conventions owed to the unification of the two flourishing, stripling stars, good vibes, a heart-fluttering chemistry and clean handling of familial values that comprises a differently indifferent teeny-bopper Star Cinema flick that attracts, entertains and fulfills the craved-for amusement of all ages; showing that it can do and be so much more than just the ordinary romantic paps that get insufferably, chronically churned out by film studios – even making itself worthy of having the spot that it had fought for to make it as an entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival in spite of the dominance and greater pull of its competitors.
- Vince & Kath & James, an official entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival and is still showing in Philippine cinemas.