John Lloyd Cruz is an actor who has so far managed to capture the charisma of an early Tom Hanks but seems to be saddled with the unfortunate career trajectory of Matthew McConaughey. All is not lost though as One More Chance remains one of his career highlights, as he stars alongside Bea Alonzo in a Battle of the Sexes tale about Love, Control and Architecture. In what is perhaps one of the better known Filipino melodramas, One More Chance tells the story of Basha (Bea Alonso), an upcoming architect faced with one of the biggest projects of her career. There’s a caveat though, as her overbearing and controlling fiancé Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) appears to undermine her every step of the way. With a wedding on the horizon and their relationship on the rocks, things begin to hurtle out of control, splitting up the young couple and their close group of friends.
We are firmly in “date-movie” territory with this one, as the film is as formulaic as the premise suggests. The film contains a somewhat jarring mixture of soft focus melodrama and awkwardly paced slapstick humour. Fortunately, its endearing charm reveals itself over the ninety or so minute runtime. One More Chance is one of those great films that manage to give a potted tour of its locale, culture and surroundings whilst presenting an aspect of modern metro Manila rarely seen in its contemporaries.
The chemistry between leads is truly fantastic and up there with some of Hollywood’s finest. Bea Alonso manages to embody the every woman, often seen played in the west by the likes Jennifer Anniston or Katherine Hegel whilst John Lloyd Cruz’s Popoy makes an excellent argument for there to be an award for best onscreen jerk. Artistically the film is shot to the standard of other mainstream romantic comedies, presenting a restrained mise-en-scene that simply serves a purpose of showing you how the young and beautiful live. The soundtrack is suitably melodramatic, with a score that’s both cloying yet oddly appropriate to the story it accompanies. Kudos must be given to Erik Santos whose theme “I’ll Never Go” should be remembered as one of cinema’s greatest guilty pleasure soundtracks alongside “Love is all around” and “My Heart Will Go On”.
One More Chance is the kind of film made for the masses; it’s easy-going, care free and relatively shallow. For those of you looking for something a bit different from the usual Hollywood-fare, yet equally sweet and silly; One More Chance is a fantastic alternative and deserves to be seen outside of its native country.