Movie review: 'Harry & Patty' is suprisingly engaging

Fred Hawson

Posted at Aug 06 2018 06:41 AM

Patty is a kind, cheerful, but homely young lady who makes a living by driving an online taxi service. One day, Harry, a rich, handsome but very drunk young man, becomes her passenger. The next day, and for the days after, Harry takes a fancy on Patty and would hire her car for entire days in a row. Unbelievable as it may seem, to the chagrin and concern of their family and friends on both sides, Harry is actually falling in love with Patty for real.

It is very interesting that the main conflict of this film reflected the situation of its two stars in reality. If gossip columns were to be believed, Kakai Bautista and Ahron Villena were at one point romantically linked in real life, and people cannot believe that it is true. Tough as the truth may, it is difficult for others to accept the relationship if one party does not match the other in terms of looks. This, of course, should not be the case. It is unfair to Villena or Bautista for people to think that a love affair like theirs was impossible. Having this issue tackled on the big screen in "Harry & Patty" was a genius idea. Good that both actors agreed to do it.

To be completely honest, even just watching their pairing on screen as Patty and Harry can also look and feel wrong. We are simply not used to seeing this type of pairings in romcoms. Empoy Marquez broke the mold last year with the box-office success of his pairing with Alessandra da Rossi in "Kita Kita." It is odd how seeing the situation reversed (the man attractive and the woman not so) could make the intentions of the man more suspicious. You know it's not about the money, since Harry is rich and Patty is not. So what else could it be? Could it really be true love?

A major part of this film's success was thanks to Bautista and her charming, sincere and empathetic performance as Patty. I already knew her before to be an effective actress and comedian on TV and on stage ("Rak of Aegis"). Patty was down-to-earth and was genuinely kind-hearted, and Bautista herself projected the same qualities. Even if Patty was written to have been too needlessly sentimental, Bautista made her delightful just the same.

On the other hand, I had not heard of Villena before until he was romantically linked him to Bautista. To his credit, he had a magnetic screen presence. He fully knew he was good-looking and he was working it. Compared to Bautista, his acting was still rather tentative, but he did show signs of dramatic depth in certain key scenes. They were practically playing themselves, so awkward as their pairing looked, there was actually chemistry .

Mark Neumann played Patty's rascally younger brother Raymond. This good looking young actor displayed great comic timing as he laid on the pick-up lines to the girl he fancied. Raymond's love affair with Hershey (Heaven Peralejo) was a secondary subplot of the film. However, it was clear that Raymond was staunchly loyal to his sister, even if he was merciless in teasing her about her looks.

Bodjie Pascua played Patty's blind Tay-shie (term of endearment for father) Peping. Up and coming comedienne Donna Cariaga (who gained fame joking about her desperate romantic longings) played Patty's best friend Dolly. Lou Veloso played Mang Sincero, Patty's favorite photographer. Carmi Martin and Soliman Cruz played Harry's parents Belle and Charles. Joe Vargas played Harry's best friend Reggie. Arci Munoz had a brief but critical appearance as Harry's ex-girlfriend Nica. Like Raymond, all of them had something to say about Harry and Patty's relationship.

This film written by Volta delos Santos and directed by Julius Antonio was a pleasant surprise. I was ready not to like it, but fortunately it turned out to be quite engaging with its twists and turns, and was actually quite funny. Aside from being entertaining, it also had an important message to impart for us who tend to judge people and their relationships according to their outside appearance. Similarly, we should also not judge this movie based on its unassuming cover. I had a good time watching this, and I believe so will you. 7/10

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."