Director Theodore Boborol’s rom-com is a clear homage to the early 2000s.
Putting together leading-lady-in-waiting Julia Barretto together with leading-man-in-the-making Joshua Garcia and next generation hunk Ronnie Alonte in one experimental big screen project was a bold yet effective approach for Star Cinema in the film Vince and Kath and James.
The big screen adaptation of the popular textserye tells the story of how torpe Vince (Joshua) wooed the boyish Kath (Julia) for his cousin James (Ronnie) through his impeccable way with heartwarming words. Maxine (Maris Racal), Kath’s funny and ditzy best friend, played a huge part in getting her to open up to possibility of exchanging messages with Vince who went by the mobile pseudonym “Var.”
Director Theodore Boborol’s rom-com is a clear homage to the early 2000s, when the text generation arose. It was also during this time when the love team of the late Rico Yan and Claudine Barretto went into full bloom, as punctuated by their rom-com Got 2 Believe.
The screenplay made the story fresh, however, by adding the “Da Vinci Quote” element, which happens to be a well-followed, nameless social networking account that posts hugots about liking a certain person and not being liked back.
As a relatively new actor in the business, Joshua was more than a revelation in the film after displaying his depth in acting and in communicating his emotions through silence and his eyes. Pretty much like a young John Lloyd Cruz or Rico Yan, his confrontations with his mother (Ina Raymundo) and his palpable despair at the blooming romance of Kath and James were more than perfect examples of his very promising skills.
Maris was the perfect new blood that the rom-com industry needs. Although it’s quite obvious that she’s holding back her acting in order not to blow her performance out of proportion, her initial performance in the film, particularly the jumping rope moment and the moments during their internship, was funny enough to rank her as a promising big screen best friend for Kath.
Julia, for her part, has improved as far as her acting is concerned. This film displayed her capacity to separate herself from her “rich kid” public image to become a very independent and even rough young lady. She owned the talyer moment with Vince, as well as her moment with her dad (Allan Paule).
Ronnie, however, failed where Julia excelled, as he wasn’t able to create a different James character from the Ronnie that the public knew. To be fair, the Hashtags member confessed early on that James and Ronnie have a strikingly similar life. Despite this, Ronnie also had his moment during their confrontation, where it must be noted that no one was left behind, as far as being betrayed was concerned.
Chemistry-wise, the difference between JoshLia (the tandem of Joshua and Julia) between RonLia (the tandem of Ronnie and Julia) is really very slim. But given the expertise shown by Julia and Joshua in their respective and joint performances, Vince and Kath and James was for JoshLia.
The overall text-like treatment of the conversations between Kath and “Var,” similar to other films in the past, has always been a welcome deviation in most modern-love stories. Meanwhile, the film’s musical scoring also contributed to it’s teenage-like feel, which featured Ylona Garcia and Bailey May’s “O Pag-Ibig” as the main song.
For what it’s worth, amid the inclusion of certain formulaic elements like the usual family rejection and insecurity of the main protagonist plots, Vince and Kath and James and its director has given Pinoy entertainment new faces to watch for in the coming years.