Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Maria Leonora Teresa

Direction: Wenn Deramas;  Starring: Iza Calzado, Jodie Sta. Maria, Zanjoe Marudo, Cris Villanueva ; Screenplay: Wenn Deramas, Keiko Aquino,; Editing: Marya Ignacio; Producer: Malou Santos, Chara Santos-Concio; Music: Idonnah Villarico; Location: Metro Manila; Genre: Horror; Distributor: Star Cinema

Technical assessment: 2.5   Moral assessment: 3   CINEMA rating: V14   MTRCB Rating: PG13
     Maaaksidente ang isang bus ng Little Magnolia School at masasawi ang karamihan sa mga sakay nitong bata, kabilang na sina Maria Pardo, Leonora Vera at Teresa De Castro. Labis na mamimighati ang kani-kanilang mga magulang at ang tanging makalulunas ay ang mga manyikang ibibigay ni Dr. Manolo (Villanueva) bilang isang naiibang paraan ng paghilom ng damdamin. Sa simula ay parang makatutulong ang mga manyika kina Faith Pardo (Calzado), Stella De Castro (Sta. Maria) at Titser Julio (Marudo) pero nang lumaon sunod-sunod ang mga karumal-dumal na pagkamatay ng mga taong malalapit sa kanilang tatlo.
     Sa totoo lamang, may talino sana ang buod ng kwento, lalo na ang misteryo sa likod ng mala-demonyitang mga manyika. Makatotohanan ang kirot na pinagdaanan ng mga magulang na nabigyang buhay sa madamdaming pagganap nina Calzado, Sta. Maria at Marudo.  Kaya na sanang hindi ito gawing kakatakutan pero pinili ng direktor ang tiyak na pagbenta nito sa takilya kaya binudburan ng mga eksena ng patayan ang pelikula. Nakakatawa nga na kung kailan nagsisimula na ang kakatakutan ay bumagal ang daloy ng kwento at madalas ay nagiging katawa-tawa pa. Bilang horror, nakaipit pa rin ito sa panggugulat kaysa sa kilabot. Lahat naman nang ginamit na istilo ay napanuod mo na nang paulit-ulit sa ibang mga pelikula. Pinilit na lagyan ng sophisticated special effects ang ilang eksena pero hindi naman ito naging matagumpay dahil mas matatandaan mo ang kaburaraan tulad ng pagkakahalata sa batang ipinapalit sa manyika. Napakarami ring butas ang naratibo dahil hindi buo ang mga motibo o taliwas sa karakter ang mga desisyong pinili. Pero ang hindi namain maisip ay kung bakit ibinigay kay Villanueva ang pagganap sa mahalagang tauhan gayun wala naman siyang ni kapirasong kakayahan sa pag-arte. Medyo mapanlinlang tuloy ang pelikula dahil komedya naman pala ito sa huli at hindi tunay na kakatakutan.
     Walang lihim ang pwedeng itago habang buhay at lahat ng pagkakamali ay pagbabayaran at pagbabayaran din balang–araw. Pangit nga lamang ang ginawang paraan ng pelikula sa paniningil sa pagkakamali ng tatlong magulang—bagamat maaring makipagtalo na tanging si Julio lamang talaga ang may pagkakasala—pero malinaw ang mensahe na hindi maaring ibaon sa limot o pagtakpan habang buhay ang pagkakasala.  Sa kabilang dako, ang paghihiganti ay hindi katumbas ng katarungan dahil ang una ay nakatuon sa prinsipiyo ng “mata kapalit ng mata” kaysa sa pagtutuwid sa pagkakamalli. Walang kapayapaan ang taong hindi marunong magpatawad kahit na mapaghigantihan pa niya ang mga nanakit sa kanya. Walang kapanatagan ang taong hindi marunong humingi ng tawad kahit pa mahusay niyang napagtatakpan ang kanyang kasalanan. Katulad ng nabanggit, may potensyal sana ang Maria Leonora Teresa kung binawasan ang komersyo at pagpupumilit na maging “horror” (at kung tinanggal si Villanueva). Hindi angkop ang pelikula sa mga batang manunuod—hindi lamang dahil sa marahas na patayan kundi dahil sa mababaw nitong konsepto ng pagbuo ng tauhan at naratibo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Direction: Jonathan Liebesman; Cast: Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Danny Woodburn, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville; Screenplay: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Evan Daugherty. Based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Peter Laird; Editing: Joel Negron, Glen Scantlebury; Producer: Michael Bay, etcMusic: Brian Tyler; Genre: Sci-Fi Action Comedy; Distributor: Paramount Pictures; Location: New York; Running Time: 101 minutes

Technical assessment: 3   Moral Assessment: 3  CINEMA rating: V13 

April O’Neil (Meg Ryan) wants to be taken seriously as a journalist at New York’s Channel 5. But this cannot happen as long as she is assigned to bit segments of exercise and trampoline jumps. So she chases a lead about the notorious Foot Clan led by Shredder (Masamune) as they are about to unload something at the docks. However, April catches a shadowy figure who takes out the foot soldiers one by one and convinces her of the existence of a vigilante who will protect the city against the Foot Clan. April tries to sell her story to her editor Bernadette (Goldberg) but without hard proof, she ends up as the news team’s joke of a reporter. April, encounters the vigilante once again as the Foot Clan holds hostage the train commuters, but this time she realizes that the vigilantes are four mutated turtle humanoids trained in ninja techniques. She brings this story to Bernadette and eventually gets fired. April then goes to Sacks, her father’s former laboratory partner who helped developed a mutagen aimed to heal people. Apparently, the laboratory caught fire and the lab turtles and mouse used for experimentation were saved by a young April which later transformed into mutated creatures. Unaware that Sacks is behind the Foot Clan, April unintentionally leads them to the turtles’ lair. Three turtles—Leo, Donnie and Michael—are captured so Sacks can extract the mutagens in their genes. April, together with Raphael, free the captured turtles and attack Shredder before they are able to release the toxin to the city.  
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) is one of those beloved franchises with a solid fanbase from the 90s. Perhaps producer Michael Bay thought this was enough reason to resurrect the series without updating its elements. Production-wise TMNT delivers what is expected on a silver platter.  The action sequences are fun and dynamic but offers nothing new. The  computer generated effects are well crafted but little effort has been placed in trying to differentiate the turtle's characters from one another. The humans are cardboard flat and dry. Michael Bay being Michael Bay has his signature noise and explosions every possible time. Is the movie worth your while?  Maybe, if you belong to the 90s Gen Y or have nothing better to do. 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can be seen as the perennial quest of good versus bad and good triumphing in the end. The question is if this was placed to make the movie palatable and mask the narrative shortcoming and obsession with explosion. Trying to force a moral to the story, one can point how people are willing to seek and fight for the truth. And how the young should be made aware of their responsibility to society especially if they are good and able to do so. While motivations of the characters for seeking and fighting truth are arguable, TMNT to an extent offers a glimpse of heroism, selflessness and the commitment to be our brother's protector. Of course, it takes effort to decipher these messages amidst the standard explosions required by the producer. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Giver

Director:  Phillip Noyce Cast:  Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, Cameron Monaghan  Screenplay: Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide, based on the book by Lois Lowry  Cinematography: Ross Emery  Music: Marco Beltrami  Genre: Science fiction  U.S. Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Technical 3.5             Moral assessment:  3.5    CINEMA rating:  V14
Friends since childhood Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), Fiona (Odeya Rush), and Asher (Cameron Monaghan), graduates-to-be, are looking forward to adult life in a futuristic society that knows no suffering, hunger, injustice, pain, and violence.  Presiding at the graduation ceremony is Chief Elder (Meryl Streep), present in hologram form,  who assigns each graduate different functions that will shape their adult lives.  Citizens in this sanitized society inject themselves daily with a serum that erases memories and suppresses their emotions, individuality, choice, freedom, temptation, and religion.  Jonas is the last to be given an assignment, but he gets the heaviest one—as the community’s new “Receiver”, the repository of historical memories that average citizens are not allowed to access.  For this position he learns the ropes from the current Receiver, known as the “Giver” (Jeff Bridges), who is weary from bearing all the past memories and who must pass on the knowledge of this “real world” to his trainee Jonas.  Jonas soon realizes emotions enrich life, and discovers the Elders’ secrets as well.
The Giver is based on a 1993 bestseller by Lois Lowry, and in the hands of adept director Philip Noyce (Salt) it faithfully translates the message of the book into memorable moving images.  The prestige cast delivers solid acting but it almost plays a supporting role to Emery’s powerful images.  It is the look of The Giver that gives a sense of realness to the otherwise fictitious story.  The creative interspersing of color visuals in a predominantly black and white film aids in advancing the story and drawing a well-defined line between rich and impoverished emotional states.  Scenes which are devoid of emotion are depicted in black and white; those that are rife with feeling are gently and gradually awash with color.  In receiving past memories, Jonas’ perception of things is portrayed by the camera through exaggeratedly vivid hues.
With its well-developed themes, The Giver serves meaty issues for young adults to ponder and discuss—all related to life.  Happily, the film does not preach, yet everything about it underscores the value and sanctity of life.  This supposedly Utopian society, deemed ideal by mere human standards, equates perfection with conformity to the rule.  People wear virtual uniforms—no fashionistas allowed; each family is allowed two children, one boy and one girl, who are genetically engineered “replacements” for their parents.  Even their homes are identical—the opening scene is an aerial shot of the community’s residential district, and the all-white houses at first glance strongly resemble the crosses on a cemetery’s green lawn.  We suspect this is intentional, as though to denote lifelessness in uniformity. 
What is most heartening in this film is its unequivocal pro-life message that people of faith will definitely resonate with.  There’s a point when Jonas begins to believe that the knowledge he receives must also be shared with others—that is when he discovers that the community’s Elders, in their dogged determination to maintain a perfect society, eliminate flawed babies and old people too fragile to keep alive.     


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Barber's Tales

DIRECTOR: Jun Robles Lana  LEAD CAST: Eugene Domingo, Eddie Garcia, Shamaine Buencamino, Gladys Reyes, Noni Buencamino, Iza Calzado, Daniel Fernando, Nicco Manalo, Sue Prado MUSIC:  Ryan Cayabyab  CINEMATOGRAPHY:  Carlo Mendoza  GENRE:  Drama
Technical assessment:  4  Moral assessment: 2.5  CINEMA rating: V 18
        Si Marilou (Eugene Domingo) ay ang masunuring maybahay ni Jose (Daniel Fernando), and kaisa-isang barbero sa baryo nila sa probinsiya.  Hindi lamang siya masunurin—sunud-sunuran pa siya, hanggang sa puntong siya pa ang nagpapaligo sa asawa niya, na iniiwan lang naman siya sa gabi para mag-gudtaym sa kabayanan.  Pero may pakinabang din ang pagiging masunurin niya, pagka’t natuto siyang maggupit ng buhok sa kauudyok ng asawa, kahit na nga wala naman siyang ambisyong magbarbero, at katunayan siya ang gumugupit ng buhok ni Jose.  Isang araw, hindi na gigising si Jose matapos ang isang gabi ng pagkalasing.  Bagama’t bantulot, masusumpungan ni Marilou na buksang muli ang barberya ni Jose, at siya nga ang magiging barbero dito.  Mapapasok sa masalimuot na mga pangyayari ang buhay ni Marilou, at mangyayari ang hindi inaasahan.
        Kahanga-hanga ang pagkakabuo ng Barber’s Tales (Mga Kuwentong Barbero), at karapat-dapat lamang na isang batikang artistang tulad ni Domingo ang maging tampok na tauhan nito.  Walang maipipintas na gasino sa aspetong teknikal ng pelikula sapagkat ang mga mumunting pagkukulang nito ay nalulukuban naman ng pangkalahatang angking kinang nito, lalo na ng sinematograpiya.  Maganda naman ang kuwento bagama’t minsan ay mukhang pilit, tila ba labis na mainit sa paghahatid ng pinili nitong mensahe.  Mahusay ang direksiyon, kapani-paniwala ang setting ng istorya, at malikhain ang sinematograpiya.  Ipinanalo ni Domingo ang pagganap niya sa Barber’s Tales ng isang Best Actress award sa 2013 Tokyo International Film Festival—salamat naman at kinikilala ang husay ng aktres hindi lamang sa komedya kundi pati na rin sa drama.
       Tanong ng manonood, “masustansiya” ba ang Barber’s Tales?  Naniniwala kaming may matayog na hangarin ang pelikula.  Gusto nitong imulat ang mga mata ng manonood sa abang kalagayan ng mga kababaihan sa isang kulturang hindi kumikilala sa kanilang mga katangian liban sa kanilang pagiging butihin asawa, ina, o alila.  Nais din ng pelikula na bigyang-diin ang kawalan ng katarungan sa isang lipunang mapang-api sa maralita at mapagsamantala sa mangmang.  Kaya lamang, hindi nito napalalim ang pagsasaad ng matayog nitong hangarin, nagmukha tuloy karikatura ang ilang mga situwasyon.  Isang halimbawa, hindi naipakita nang sapat ang mga dahilan kung bakit nagiging rebelde ang isang tao.  Gasgas na gasgas na rin ang tema ng martial law at diktadurang Marcos—wala na bang ibang maaaring sisihin ang mga gustong magrebelde?  Sa kabila din ng pagsisikap ng pelikula na ipakitang may magagawang kabutihan ang mga babae kung magkakabuklod-buklod lamang sila, nanaig pa rin ang nakakalungkot na katotohanang ang kanilang pagkamasarili at karuwagan din ang daan tungo sa kanilang pagkabigo.  Sa gawing pagtatapos “sumemplang” ang Barber’s Tales: napaniwala nito ang manonood na moog ng lakas at liwanag ng isip si Marilou, pero paano siya “bumigay” nang walang kaabug-abog?  Iisa lamang ang maaaring dahilan noon—“classmates” pala sila ng luka-lukang akala niya’y tinutulungan niya.  Hay, kuwentong barbero nga.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Expendables 3

--> Direction: Patrick Hughes; Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzennegger, Wesley Snipes, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, etc. Story: Sylvester Stallone; Screenplay: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Sylvester Stallone; Cinematography: Peter Menzies, Jr.;  Editing: Sean Albertson, Paul Harb.; Music: Brian Tyler; Producers: Avi Lerner, Kevin King-Templeton; Genre: Action Location: USA and Europe Running Time: 126 minutes
Technical assessment: 2.5 Moral assessment: 2.5 CINEMA rating: V14
Barney Ross (Stallone) and his team of retirable former something of the military intercept a shipment of bombs meant for a Somalian warlord but is shocked to see Expendable co-founder turned traitor Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who is believed to be dead, to be the man behind the dealing. Ross, in order to protect his old friends, assembles a younger team to run after Stonebanks but the latter evades capture and instead imprisons the younger members as a trap for Ross. Ross is forced to reassemble his old team with a few additions of equally retirable ex-experts to save the younger Expendables and eventually end Stonebanks’ crimes.
It is excruciating to watch all these 80s-90s action heroes struggling to relive their glory moments via an equally excruciating movie. With all the big names with no real acting prowess packed into a plot which can be told in 20 minutes, one can just image the ingenuity needed to sustain the movie for two hours. Between the gist of the story are endless repetitive action sequences aimed to remind the audience that the actor had a career once and unfortunately reinforced that he could only manage two expressions at most. Only Mel Gibson, who must have had an offer he could not refuse for allowing himself to be associated with the movie, and Antonio Banderas, gave some level of depth and enjoyment in their respective character portrayals. That the technical aspects are above average is irrelevant because frankly it is expected for the obvious investment producers poured in. With all the big stars in movie, producers are bound to hit enough patrons who adored the once upon a time action heroes or are just curious to see how badly they’ve aged. Other than this, we cannot think of any other reason why one will withstand 120 minutes of idiocy.
Somewhere in the muddled storyline and monotonous chasing and explosions, one character utters, in a desperate attempt to pour in some heart and soul in the film, that for their mission /objective to succeed, they have to work together –set aside their differences and be a team. So that about sums the decency of Expendables 3. Quite true and honorable but really—can two lines salvage the poor narrative, ridiculous characters and senseless and tiresome testosterone overkill? It does not help that at the end of the film, supposed morally upright Ross choses to kill Stonebanks just because he had enough of the latter’s evil ways. Thankfully, most of the fans would be aged 40 and above so there may be little danger in sending the wrong messages.


-->DIRECTOR: Luc Besson LEAD CAST:  Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi SCREENWRITER: Luc Besson PRODUCER: Mar Shmuger, Virginie Silla  MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Eric Serra GENRE: Action, Sci-Fi CINEMATOGRAPHER:   Thierry Arbogast  LOCATION: Taiwan and France DISTRIBUTOR:  Columbia Pictures RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
Technical Assessment: 3.5; Moral Assessment: 2.5; CINEMA rating: V 14
Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is an American taking further studies in Taiwan. There he meets Richard and they  become steady after nights of hanging out and drinking sprees in bars. After barely a week, she is tricked by Richard  to deliver a mysterious briefcase to a certain Mr. Jung (Chao Min Sik). It eventually turns out that the briefcase contains a prohibited new synthetic designer drug. Trapped, Lucy is forced to become a drug mule. But then, something happens in the process - the drug bursts into her stomach and releases into her system, activating even the most inactive part of her brain. Thus, it gives Lucy access to increase the amount of her neural capacity – more than an average human being can . Lucy gains formidable, close to supernatural abilities that is more than enough to get back and retaliate to the group of Mr. Jung. However, her ability goes with consequences she may not be able to handle.
The film takes off with the premise that an average human person uses only about 10% of  his brain capacity – what if a person would be able to use more? What if a person is able to use 100%? Although the premise seems preposterous with no real logical and scientific basis to boot, the audience is made to believe it is so. Lucy is a triumph in visual storytelling – having successfully told both in gripping narrative and arresting visuals such an abstract idea. Johansson is able to pull through the physical and emotional demands of her character. Although lacking in character back story, Lucy still earned audience’s sympathy and it could be attributed to Johansson’s nuances. The movie’s direction is fluid and the editing is superb. Lucy is one rare feat in filmmaking where philosophy and movie arts meet. The audience is made to think, feel, and remain glued at their seats as they journey with Lucy’s 100% use of her brain capacity.
Lucy is set at the backdrop of the illegal drugs industry. The said world is portrayed as dark and evil – and true to its form, illegal drug is the ultimate evil in society – it destroys, corrupts and causes most of society’s ills. It is but coincidental that in the same evil world, Lucy is able to gain incredible ability that is not necessarily evil and in fact, Lucy used the said ability to fight the evil. But then again, there goes the moral question of breaking human laws and taking justice in one’s own hands, especially in situations, as in Lucy’s, when humans are empowered with superhuman abilities to the point of killing the enemies if necessary. Although it is hard to pass on moral judgments to Lucy’s actions since she is portraying a hypothetical superhuman situation, and she seems unable to control her actions, it is perhaps better to ponder on the man’s imperfect nature. By God’s design, humans are made to be imperfect and for always, perfection is one of human’s ultimate goal but is achieved in his lifetime. In Lucy, it is said that when humans are able to use 100% of his or her cerebral capacity, the next stage would be self-destruction since he or she has already achieved his or her full potential. Absurd as it is, the message could simply be that humans are made imperfect so as to be dependent on God, and journey with God towards perfection. For even if a human reaches his or her full potential, he or she can never be God. More so, in case it happens, for as long as one acknowledges that there is One all powerful, omnipresent, ultimate God, he or she can never go wrong. Lucy has made the ultimate sacrifice in the end, reminiscent that of God’s sacrifice once before – perhaps it is the real peak of human’s fullest potential, when one could sacrifice his or her own life for the greater good. But then, all of which are subject to debate and reflection, and still, Lucy has some adult and violent themes and visuals that may be suitable only to audiences 14 and above.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

DIRECTOR:  James Gunn LEAD CAST:  Chris Pratt, Zoe Zaldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker  SCREENWRITER: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman  PRODUCER: Kevin Feige  EDITOR:  Craig Wood, Fred Raskin, Hughes Winborne MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Tyler Bates  GENRE:  Science Fiction, Superhero (Sci Fi) CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Davis  DISTRIBUTOR:  Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures  LOCATION: United States RUNNING TIME:  122 minutes

Technical assessment:  4
Moral assessment:  3
CINEMA rating:  V 14
Hurt beyond words by the death of his mother from cancer, the grieving boy Peter Quill (Wyatt Olef) bolts from the hospital to a grassy knoll but, alas, he is sucked in by a spaceship, abducted by aliens presumably. Next we are shown a grown up and wise-cracking Peter (Chris Pratt), dancing to the songs of the 70s he had enjoyed as a boy.  He is now one among a band of intergalactic thieves and, calling himself “Star Lord”, is in fact on a mission to steal an orb.  He succeeds but the orb, it turns out, is coveted by so many others, among them the terrorist Ronan (Lee Pace), The Collector (Benicio del Toro), the war lord Thanos (Josh Brolin), and lesser characters interested in selling it.  Besides losing the orb to one of them, Peter is arrested and imprisoned; and there he and fellow inmates—Thanos’ daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a tree-like creature called Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and a hulk called Drax the Destroyer (wrestling champ David Bautista)—band together with one aim in mind: to retrieve the orb.
            Any movie with a hero who dances to 70s tunes while kicking around dinosaur-rodents in a grungy cavern can’t but be an entertaining movie.  Despite some loopholes in the plot, Guardians of the Galaxy deserves a bunch of medals for being Marvel’s most surprising production to date.  Not only because it is so lighthearted and breezy (and therefore un-Marvel-ous) but also because it has the swagger to put its heart on its sleeve, confident that the audience will love it nonetheless.  At first it looks like another story about another superhero playing cute, until the would-be Guardians start popping and zapping into the picture.  And it is in the interplay of these characters that the movie finds its redemption.
            Values, there are many.  Teamwork, for one.  Self-sacrifice for the greater good is another.  Character transformation is yet another.  These five Guardians are all rascals one way or another and are after the orb for their own selfish agenda: Peter Quill the intergalactic thief and smuggler is the payroll of Ravager Yondu (Michael Rooker); green-skinned Gamora is sent by her father Thanos to grab the orb from Peter; gun-toting bad-ass raccoon Rocket is taking out his anger for having been experimented on countless times; Rocket’s sidekick Groot who has only three words to say—“I am Groot”—all throughout the movie; and meathead Drax who joins the bunch to avenge the killing of his wife and child.  No one would have recruited these five to work as a team, but the movie glides on the charm of these characters.  Rivals become allies, agreeing to set aside their individual aims in order to secure the orb and keep it out of reach of the genocidal maniac Ronan.  In the end, Groot justifies his supreme sacrifice by saying, this time, “We are Groot.”  If action movies can fill the outer spaces with heart such as Guardians of the Galaxy has done, then it is hoped that the dancing twig as the credits roll is a subtle set up for a sequel.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Trophy wife

Lead cast: Cristine Reyes, Heart Evangelista, Derek Ramsay, John Estrada; Direction: Andoy Ranay; Screenplay: Keiko Aquino; Editing: GeorgeJarlego; Cinematography: Lee Briones-Meily Producer: Vic del Rosario III; Music: Teresa Barronzo; Location: Metro Manila; Genre: Drama-Suspense Distributor: Viva Films

Technical Assessment:  2 Moral Assessment: 1.5
MTRCB rating: R13     CINEMA rating:  V18

       Ang tanging ambisyon ni Lani (Reyes) ay makatuntong sa Amerika at makilala ang kanyang sundalong ama at magkaroon ng mas magandang buhay. Kaya lahat ng paraan ay kanyang ginagawa, pati ang pakikipagmabutihan sa mga lalaking may kakayahang dalhin siya sa ibang bansa. Kaya naman napakadaling nahulog ng kanyang loob kay Chino (Ramsey), isang spoiled brat na playboy. Pero dahil sa isang tunggalian sa anak ng maimpluwensyang mayor, mapipilitan si Chino na magtago sa Amerika kaagad-agad. Pero buntis si Lani at susubukan niyang humingi ng tulong kay Sammy (Estrada), matandang kapatid ni Chino. Subalit malupit si Sammy at bubundulin si Lani na magiging sanhi ng pagkalaglag ng kanyang dinadala. Sa labis na galit, gagawa si Lani ng paraan para iangat ang sarili upang makapaghiganti sa magkapatid. Makakasalamuha niya ang mga mayayaman at sa isang okasyon makakatagpo niya si Sammy na lubos na maaakit sa kanya. Samantala, sa Amerika, mahuhulog ang loob ni Chino kay Gwen (Evangelista) at papakasalan ito. Uuwi sa Pilipinas ang magkabiyak para makilala ang bagong asawa ni Sammy at laking gulat ni Chino nang madatnan niya ang labis na nagbagong Lani. Sa pagdaan ng araw, lahat ng paraan ay ginagawa ni Lani para maakit si Chino sa kanya at masira ang relasyon nila ni Gwen habang unti-unting nabubunyag ang mga nakatagong lihim at motibo.
       May maganda sanang balangkas ang Trophy Wife kung naisulong lamang ang pagbuo ng kwento nito sa halip na binigyang-tuon ang paghuhubad at mga eksena ng pagtatalik na wala namang naidagdag sa kwento. Malaki ang pagkukulang ng direktor na maipalabas ang misteryo at poot sa likod ng katauhan ni Lani dahil pinili nitong maya’t mayang itambad ang katawan ni Reyes kaysa sa paghusayin ang pagkwekwento. Para tuloy isang pamamasyal sa buwan ang pelikula—malubak at punong-puno ng butas: kaya naman pala ni Lani na iangat ang saril, bakit hindi pa niya ginawa nuong una e ang tindi naman ng ambisyon niya? Bakit bigla na lamang sumulpot sa eksena si Gwen gayon malapit daw sila sa isa’t isa nuong mga bata pa sila? Papaano nagka-usap muli sina Lani at Gwen? Kung iisa-isahin natin ang paglilinaw sa pagsasalaysay ay kukulangin ang nakalaang puwang sa pagsusulat ng reaksyon. Ang walang kalatuy-latoy na mga usapan ay lalo pang napasama ng walang kabuhay-buhay na pagganap ni Reyes at Evangelista at mala-sarswelang atake ni Estrada.  Tanging sina Tongi at Fabregas  (gumanap na unang asawa at kaibigan ni Sammy) lamang ang nagkaroon ng makatotohanang atake sa kanilang mga papel. Salat na salat si Reyes sa kakayahang umarte. Iisa ang damdaming kayang ipahayag ng kanyang mukha at kilos—isang babaeng nilalapastangan ng industriya.  Kapag isinama pa ang kapabayaan sa produksyon tulad ng lulubog-lilitaw na puntong Kapampangan ni JackieLou nang nagalit siya kay Lani, o ang di-mawaring nagkulang na prosthetics sa kamay nito (kamay ba iyon o maruya?) o ang patalun-talong pagdaloy ng eksena at paglipat ng angulo, lalo lamang darami ang lubak at butas ng pelikula, hay naku!
       Walang nahihita sa paghihiganti gaano man kalaki ang atraso ng isang tao. Lagi, sa dulo, talo ang nagtatanim ng matinding poot at nagpapanukala ng masalimuot na paraan para sa ikababagsak ng kalaban. Ang mga pagsubok at dagok sa buhay ay dapat gamiting paraan upang buuing muli ang nawasak at pira-pirasong sarili, palakasin ito at ibangon hindi para sa nang-api kundi para maging kapaki-pakinabang ang buhay. Ang tema ng paghihiganti at pagsisimulang muli ang siya sanang tuon ng Trophy Wife pero tulad nang nabanggit, pinili na pahabain ang mga senswal na eksena. Marahas ang mga tema ng Trophy Wife: panlilinlang sa asawa, paggamit ng katawan para maghiganti, sabwatan at pang-aakit para makasakit, pagpatay at pagkasadista. Nakasama pang lalo na sa pagtatapos ng pelikula, ang mga may sala pa ang dali-daling binigyan ng “happy ending” sa halip na maipakita ang tunay na ibinunga ng kanilang maling pagpapasya.  Ganito lamang bang katapusan ang kailangan para makamtam ang rating na R13 ng MTRCB?  Walang matinong magulang ang papayag na mapanood ng trese-anyos nilang anak ang mga eksenang inihahain ng Trophy Wife.  Hindi kaigaya-igaya ang pelikula para sa bata man o matanda dahil sakit na nga sa ulo ang palpak nitong produksyon at kuwento, negatibo pa ang mga dala-dala nitong mensahe.