MOVIE REVIEW: No Boyfriend Since Birth (2015)

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In Jose Javier Reyes’s No Boyfriend Since Birth, Carla Abellana’s Karina Miranda, better known as Carrie, works as an executive assistant in a bridal shop. We get the usual snappy boss in Mylene Dizon’s Mimi. The clash is always pro-boss with Carrie bowing down with her mouth shut. She is questioned by her parents if she still wants to stay but she keeps insisting that she’s happy with what she is doing and that she’s learning a lot from her boss.

That could have been a good motivation for Carrie as a character: keeping herself strong amidst the pressure of work as singled out by Mimi’s temper. That despite  the urge of her loud, corny friends Glenn (Ricci Chan) and Hannah (Bangs Garcia), she remains strong and passionate for work. However, the story chose to flow with Carrie’s “love” towards Carlo (Tom Rodriguez) whom she meets again years after graduation.

True to the concept the title refers to, Carrie has never been in a romantic relationship but there is this one guy she has always been waiting for all her life: her high school crush Carlo Joaquin Mercado. For ten long years, she has believed in a school fair prediction that her first and last boyfriend and eventual husband would be someone bearing some letters, for which she calls out to the fortune teller a name the latter approves. And so it takes that long a time for her to hold onto something  that she would just later on let go of. That is simply petty and out of the context of her preservation of memories–that all these tears are too painful to bear.

On the side, we encounter Mike Tan as a wishful guy that does not aid for a love triangle. His character Paolo is pretty much a necessary addition to the usual crowd of mainstream movies but does not give any conflict to serve the spice required. He just suddenly appears out of nowhere, pushing himself to a reppelent Carrie, and winds up being present in one of the conventional confrontation scenes.

It just does not connect well, much less not at all. For a love story that follows the struggles of a woman who is supposed to be smart enough to be cautious, Carrie’s character is underdeveloped making it too hard to grasp onto her ambitions in life. It is as if she is just clouded by the fantasy of getting Carlo as a partner. It just got to be difficult to sympathize.

Not to mention, Carlo only needs her as a business partner. Nothing else, much to the dismay of Carrie. She does not give up hoping, though. She looks into every possible way to get his attention and to win his heart if ever. This includes earning concert tickets from a client and asking him to join her just for it to appear they share the same interest. Sure enough, they get to be close to each other as she falls deeply for him.

Carlo’s character could have been interesting if it does not fall flat on the surface of monotony. This is the same attack of acting Rodriguez has exhibited in So It’s You, his previous pair-up with Abellana. At times, it feels like the dubbing was rushed and the post-production team had to resort to hiring voice talents. Or is it just that off-synch?

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As a romantic comedy, No Boyfriend Since Birth fails to deliver the comedy it promises to possess from the outside. With closer inspection, one would right away recognize how forced the jokes are. In its core is the intention of being more on the romantic side but all the audience could get are the typical exchanges of smiles that turn infatuation into love. It could have drilled further into acknowledging the innocence brought about by being NBSB but right from the start Carrie is firm that she knows love even if she hasn’t got a boyfriend her entire life. Her experiences in arranging other people’s wedding of other people are her foundation towards the man of her dreams. How inconvenient it is for her to have that attractive look, that indispensible charisma, that pretty smile only for her not to have any relationship at the age of 26.

The spark between Carla and Tom has already flourished right from the television phenomenon that is My Husband’s Lover and straight to their next series My Destiny. But down the line, as apparent in their latest project, it is just about time to look for other opportunities. Anyway, they are happy together as unlabeled item and we are all glad they happened to each other.

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