We are family, I got all my sisters with me

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By Joseph L. Garcia, Reporter

Movie Review
Mary, Marry Me
Directed by RC delos Reyes

NO sisterhood is ever perfect, but Mary, Marry Me makes it look so fun. I guess that’s how I would describe the rest of Mary, Marry Me: imperfect, but at least a good romp.

The movie, directed by RC delos Reyes, stars real-life sisters Toni and Alex Gonzaga. The young actresses playing younger versions of their characters are funny too. After the intro ends, a slamming and noisy title sequence sets the rest of the movie’s tone: noisy.

The sisters, both named Mary (Anne and Jane), were separated by fate and economics (a wealthy aunt from the US adopted Alex Gonzaga’s character after their parents’ tragic deaths). This leads to a bitterness that simmers for many years, well-concealed by the funny Alex Gonzaga (Mary Anne). The movie finds her returning to the Philippines with her perfect aspirational husband, Pete (played by Sam Milby). Toni Gonzaga, playing Mary Jane, a glowing and chicly dressed wedding planner, volunteers to help her sister plan the wedding (she is also maid of honor). But there’s a twist! It seems that Mary Jane was once almost engaged to this same man, and it’s no secret to either sister. This is revealed in a series of montages explaining how each sister met Pete. Whatever sadness this stamps onto me is immediately defeated by a loud cameo by Ruffa Mae Quinto.

Everyone’s characters look put on, like the camp diva that Alex Gonzaga plays. Melai Cantiveros plays Mary Anne’s best friend, but she seems unnecessary and piles on the interactions meant for just the Gonzaga sisters. Meanwhile, Ms. Toni plays her role naturally, as if she is the straight woman to everybody.

Mary Anne, knowing the past her fiance and her sister share, acts like a brat throughout the planning and dangles her fiance over her sister. No wonder Mary Anne’s character is so jealous: the chemistry between Pete and Mary Jane feels so infectious, and I want to be a part of it. Meanwhile, the Gonzaga girls’ sisterhood shines through the screen so sincerely, and makes me want to have a sister, if only for the laughs. The jokes are a mix of sex puns, a possibly offensive Bisaya stereotype, and references to pop culture (like a dress designer named Michael Cuatro, modelled after Michael Cinco), including Toni Gonzaga’s own movies. The jokes are bouncing all over the place, and not in a good way, though the sisters handle that mess so deftly, and make it look like improv.

The movie’s funny enough, but as for the plot, really? The whole movie’s problem would have been solved if everybody just sat down together. Besides, I’m wondering how nobody pointed out to Pete that he’s dating siblings. There are several other plotholes besides, but I choose to ignore them for a few cheap laughs.

In the film’s climax, at Mary Jane’s Frozen-themed bridal shower (the reference to the Disney movie about sisterhood is not lost), the sisters come to a head, finally, after the younger sister (Mary Anne) catches her sister and Pete in a compromising position. Alex Gonzaga manages to make it funny, even after she beats up her sister with her fists and words (trust me, it all looked painful, in every sense of the word).

The denouement finds the two women in familiar ground, where they hash out their differences. The scene is a bit contrived, and emotionally manipulative, and out of place, and nothing in the film prepares the audience for this. A credit to the filmmaker though: if this scene had been a standalone short, it serves as a wonderful and touching portrait of sisterhood.

(Warning: Spoiler ahead!)

The film ends on a note that’s too clean and convenient: Pete is at the altar, leading the audience to believe that he has finally chosen one sister over the other, only for all of us to discover that it’s actually their best friends getting married. The rest of the problems between this man and those sisters have been completely swept away, but you and I did not watch this movie for the plot; we’re here for the quick laughs.

MTRCB Rating: PG