THE CLASS DIVIDE THROUGH THE PRENUP LOOKING GLASS
by Pablo A. Tariman
Director Jun Lana takes a comic look into the class divide through another variation of the much-dreaded prenuptial agreement which looks down on the working class always presumed to be constant threat to well-guarded family inheritance.
The film delineates the habits of the lower class vis-à-vis the prosperous one. But the whole setup is complicated as a gay couple in one family is pitted against the “normal one” with socially acceptable goals.
The encounter between two families is a riot with the gay couple played by macho actors in the person of Gardo Verzosa (as Agaton) and Dominic Ochoa (as Edgar). They have an adopted daughter named Wendy (Jennylyn Mercado) who grows up accepting her gay parents who taught her what is “proper” and “improper” in any relationship. Another gay “daughter” is a quiet but well-layered role played superbly by Ella Cruz
Against this sociological backdrop, the character of Sean (Sam Milby) provides the perfect foil for the naïve vis-à-vis the young man with urban upbringing.
While stranded in New York and given temporary abode by a total stranger, Wendy ends up falling in love with Sean but she is so careful not to be drawn to bed just like that.
She drools over him and on the brink of what looks like their first passionate kiss, she wakes up from her romantic reverie and withdraws without warning and invokes the “this-is-not-right” clause.
Everyone makes love in New York so what’s wrong with them making out? Sean tells Wendy.
No, it has to be after the wedding, insists Wendy and adds being virgin on wedding night is the best gift a bride can give her groom.
After her big success in “English Only Please,” Mercado reprises a class variation from the same role and succeeds twice over. She has this sense of comic timing that had audiences rolling on the floor with laughter.
One thinks this is one of Milby’s best roles and a well-defined one and enhanced by complete rapport with his leading lady.
As it is, “The Prenup” is a good take on the prenuptial agreement as it affects the class divide’s perennial concern on who gets what when a marriage breaks up.
Indeed, the runaway winner in the film is the superb and well-written script which found excellent interpreters in the persons of lead actors Mercado and Milby.
On the other hand, there is palpable good ensemble work from members of two families — the “normal” family represented by a haughty Jaclyn Jose and Freddie Webb whose son (Neil Coleta ) is also in the twilight zone.
You must give it to Melai Cantiveros (as Wendy’s adopted elder sister) to make the best of her comic moments which contrast merrily with Coleta’s closet profile.
One predicts an acting trophy for Mercado and Milby who showed such perfect rapport they looked like the beginning of a new love team.
Writing and directing are two different animals but in this film, Lana is at his element wearing two hats.
As writer, he can easily re-write scenes that don’t work and indeed there is very little fault you can find in the quality of his screenplay.
Moreover, there are scenes that look like uncanny take-off from “English Only Please” but nevertheless coherent and worthy of the story.
As it is, “The Prenup” mirrors the transitions in our society like the growing acceptance for gay relationships and what is in store for them.
The Jun Lana film is a funny, if, hilarious take on the prenuptial agreement. Indeed, it is one of the less tedious ways of understanding the class divide.
“The Prenup” directed by Jun Lana is now showing in more than 100 theaters.