In "Kasal," Cebu's most eligible bachelor Philip Cordero had just proposed to marry his childhood crush, now a humble teacher, Lia Marquez. To generate public goodwill for Philip's campaign to be Mayor, the engaged couple spearhead a project to repair an important bridge that was damaged during a strong earthquake. The firm of hotshot engineer Wado dela Costa took on the ambitious project. This was all fine until it was revealed that Wado was actually Lia's ex, and was desperate enough to do anything to get Lia back.
There is really no contesting Bea Alonzo's excellence as a dramatic actress. She can certainly deliver all those kilometric soliloquies with conviction. No matter how cheesy or how absurd those lines can get, Alonzo can still convey them with believability and sincerity. This was best demonstrated in Lia's climactic confrontation scene with Philip which stretched the limits of melodrama, yet remained grounded with Alonzo's performance.
Paulo Avelino had a challenging role to play as Philip, being someone who was keeping a deep dark secret. Of course, as with all movies about people with secrets, the deceptive one will have to suffer consequences. Avelino is an actor who really made bold choices in his career, all the characters I had seen him in had been terribly flawed, and this Philip is certainly one with demons to hide.
Derek Ramsay seemed to having fun playing his character Wado with naughty relish. Wado possessed such an unbridled overconfidence in his own attractiveness and sexiness, and Ramsay can certainly play such jerks with his eyes closed. The wild antics Wado resorted to in order to wreak chaos on the Philip-Lea wedding were crazy, outrageous, campy and humorous, but the film would be generic without them.
The script by Patrick R. Valencia (who wrote hits like "Finally Found Someone" and "How To Be Yours") took pains to embellish the regular love triangle plot with various side plots. There was a political angle about Philip's corrupt father Mayor Ernesto Cordero (Christopher de Leon) and about electioneering with Philip's ruthless campaign manager Michelle (Cris Villonco). There was also an unforeseen yet extensive LGBT angle (a familiar theme in many recent local films) about Lia's estranged father Paul (Ricky Davao) turning into a transgender fashion designer, among other similar issues.
Lushly shot in some of Cebu's most picturesque views (such as the field of illuminated blooms in 10,000 Roses Cafe or the grandiose Temple of Leah), there were plenty of beautiful scenes with familiar platitudes about choice, commitment, being true to oneself, letting go, and forgiving past faults.
Once you settle in to watch this film, you only expect to see the ex coming in to throw a wrench into what seemed to be a dream wedding. However, this film directed by Ruel S. Bayani (who previously helmed hits like "No Other Woman" and "One More Try") threw in a most unexpected wrench into his narrative to twist the whole "typical" love triangle story into a most unexpected, but devilishly entertaining surprise. Especially if you've haven't seen the trailer, you'd never expect how far left-field this story would go.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."