I have to admit that rom coms is not exactly my cup of tea, as I usually find them superficial to the point of silliness. “Mr and Mrs Cruz”, however, is anything but, particularly due to Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo’s approach, who treats the film much like a stage play, while also including some tour guide elements.

“Mr and Mrs Cruz” is screening at San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF)

The story revolves around two complete strangers, Raffy and Gela, who take part in a group excursion in Palawan, each on their own. Their common, titular surname, though, has the rest of the group mistaking them for a married couple, with the two of them, eventually going along with it. Raffy is on a trip to remember and Gela on one to forget, and their past, “failed” relationships eventually bring the two closer together, even more so since they end up sharing the same room hotel. A number of visits in the beautiful sceneries of the area and an even larger number of tequila shots, make the two open up about their personal feelings, and somewhere between the dialogue and the trip, their healing begins.

As I mentioned in the prologue, Bernardo has staged the film much like a theatre play, since, despite the change in locations and setting, the majority of the movie is comprised of dialogue between the two protagonists. Due to this, the quality of these conversations is what dictates the quality of the film, and in that aspect, “Mr and Mrs Cruz” thrives. The discussions of the duo are cheerful, very interesting, as they present a number of comments ranging from social media and literature, to marriage and relationships in general, and highlight the exceptional chemistry of the two. In that fashion, JC Santos and Ryza Cenon as Mr and Mrs Cruz respectively, are great in their parts, highlighting their need to connect through an adorable, cat and mouse game of equal denial, with gusto and nuanced performances.

Since the movie would be somewhat tiresome if the dialogues took the narrative completely over, Bernardo took care of letting it function also aSans a tour guide to the beauties of the area, presenting a number of locations of extreme allure. Boy Yniguez’s cinematography makes the most of these settings, as the film also succeeds as a promo of the area. His framing, particularly during the dialogues, is also great, highlighting the psychology of the two, and how close they keep coming, in elaborate fashion. Marya Ignacio’s editing connects these two “sections” in entertaining fashion, while inducing the film with very suitable pace that lingers toward the fast.

“Mr and Mrs Cruz” is easy to watch, very entertaining, and filled with cheerfulness and beauty. What more can one ask from a rom-com?

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