Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me (Erick Salud, 2011) July 22, 2011Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Cinemalaya, Literature, Noypi.
Written by Jerry Gracio
Directed by Erick Salud
Cast: Edgar Allan Guzman, Mercedes Cabral, Simon Ibarra, Mel Kimura
Based on the bestselling book by Eros Atalia
In the company of pubescent boys and girls, kids who mindlessly talk aloud and take down notes for their school paper, how can I not enjoy Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me? The movie had them rolling in the aisles, seemingly competing against the film’s utter lack of restraint, and the frenzy between them was dead contagious. Thirty minutes through the movie I was having a hard time “catching up” with the humor, and a few scenes later I was probably the one with the loudest chuckle in the audience. The goodness of its entertainment is that it doesn’t make you think of the consequences. It’s simple: it makes you happy, therefore it’s good. No guilt from the pleasure, no guilt from the way it brims with careless youth.
Ligo na U, Lapit Na Me is (500) Days of Summer without the elements that make the latter annoying—elements that also make it endearing to many people—particularly the manic pixie dream girl. Mercedes Cabral is Zooey Deschanel except that she is not trying so hard to be mysterious. While we are inclined to call Mercedes’s character a slut, we couldn’t say the same to Summer. She is disposably vanilla cardboard. Mercedes evokes a kind of sensuality that keeps you away from curiosity. She does not confound; she is simply erratic like the rest of us. On the other hand, Edgar Allan Guzman is our Joseph Gordon-Levitt, charmingly hopeless, helplessly cute, showing off more skin and dumbness than needed. Edgar is able to sustain our interest from start to finish, breaking the fourth wall many times, waking up on the wrong side of the bed with a smile on his face. His sensuality matches that of Mercedes, even exceeds it, proving that his face is more expressive than his physique.
What makes the movie work is that the script, written by Jerry Gracio, is never apologetic for its excessiveness, and it feels like being at the other end of the rollercoaster ride: seeing what’s coming ahead and enjoying the thrill nevertheless. Like literature or cinema that is lightweight and does not talk about grave social issues, Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me will gain a huge following from a select group of people, young ones most especially, and that sounds better than having movies recognized abroad whose viewership does not exceed a hundred. Around these students who have actually read the book and gone out of their way to see its adaptation, I, clueless about the work of Eros Atalia, feel a bit old and think it’s a good sign.