The rom-com formula
A romantic comedy is light-hearted, humorous and most of the time centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles. And Antoinette Jadaone’s fifth directorial assignment stayed true to that principle.
It’s hard to ignore a film that has already made millions, P200 millions to be exact, just after three weeks of commercial release. Not that it’s rare but it’s intriguing how a formula film, completed in less than 2 months, tricks moviegoers to see a familiar template only made different by the location, and characters and the stars that play them.
To cut the chase, You’re My Boss is an entertaining movie by any rom-com standard – contrived plot where boy meets girl who is his total opposite. But is it a great rom-com film? If your definition of a great funny date movie is something that will go down in history as it features a hilarious clash of good manners and modern temperaments and its story communicates something meaningful, then the answer to the question is no.
The story centers on a smart and bossy airline company executive named Georgina (Toni Gonzaga) who will do everything to close an important deal with foreign investors. They, however, wouldn’t negotiate with anyone in their company save for their big boss, who’s on leave. In a desperate attempt to win them over, she introduces her assistant Pong (Coco Martin) as the president, and thus begins the pretense turning Georgina into Pong’s stylist, language coach and eventually a travel companion.
It’s hard to imagine (in real world) how a regular employee who badly needs an appointment with a speech therapist, ends up presenting before some foreign investors who seriously mean business. And how a supposedly smart company executive even allows that to happen. Talk about making sound decisions on a strictly business setting.
It’s also an insult to the audience’s intelligence when the characters themselves explain the reason why they behave the way they do. For sure, Jadaone, a Palanca awardee herself, can do better than that. But in her current film, she let the characters to verbally tell the story instead of allowing the audience uncover the different facets of Georgina and Pong’s behavior through a better way of storytelling.
Apart from the obvious implausibility of the film, it’s also funny to note that watching You’re My Boss is not about discovering two characters playing cats and dogs and becoming lovers in the end. It’s about watching Toni and Coco play themselves. There’s no slight hint that the director tried to create a different person out of the two leading stars.
In a previous interview, Jadaone said she wanted to come up with new characters not associated with the two showbiz “brands” because the producers obviously didn’t want anything as a repeat of the previous box-office attraction (But who would complain if the box office results are better than they expected?). Now, she receives a markdown on this department.
Given Toni’s versatility and Coco’s acting chops, Jadaone could have created two inspiring characters audiences would love to meet in real life. This also explains why the romantic aspect of the film is too bland it wouldn’t put the audience in any mood for love.
Perhaps that what made the movie successful. The film’s target audience are those who will see a movie not because of the story the production outfit is trying to sell but because of the stars featured in the movie. Hence, listing Toni and Coco’s star power as the main strength of You’re My Boss. Secondary is the picturesque Batanes, which serve as the set where Georgina and Pong learn what is lovable about each other.
Considering the amount of time devoted to finish the film, Jadaone was able to create a movie she can call very current and fresh. She, being the movie writer, too, was even able to incorporate in the film Toni’s punchline in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant, which happened just four weeks ago. But more than its hilarity, which appears to be a huge hit to its focused market, You’re My Boss is another validation that Star Cinema will never get tired of producing rom-coms featuring its celebrated stars. The instant return of investment is very inviting.