Movie Review for Of All The Things

Time is a Cruel Mistress

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Of All The Things was first slated to be released back in 2009. A myriad of things got in the way of production, and it has just now arrived, three years late. Obviously, this isn’t the ideal situation for most movies, the reality of time generally not being kind of people or to fictional narratives. I don’t really know what happened to this production, but regardless, what has finally been released seems to be have been crushed under the weight of its circumstances. It is a mess of a love story played out by two actors who seem to have lost a bit of their connection over the years.

Umboy (Aga Muhlach) failed the bar in 2008, and is working as a street Notary public. Berns (Regine Velasquez) is a professional fixer. When Berns gets herself into a legal fix, she hires Umboy to pretend to be her lawyer. His legal expertise gets her out of a bind, and Berns starts pushing him to make bigger plans. The two form a partnership that soon becomes a romance. But Umboy feels uneasy about Berns prodding him to retake the bar, and lashes out against her and his family. Umboy is forced to confront his previous failure and overcome his fear of failing again.

As romances go, it’s very tepid. The movie seems to stick the couple together by default, suddenly just having them develop feelings for each other after about forty-five minutes of friendly tolerance. The movie may have overestimated the chemistry of its two stars. The story itself is really tedious, the film basically dramatizing one man’s journey to retaking the bar exam. This translates into a bunch of scenes that feature one of the main characters reciting legal arguments, leading up to a terribly underwhelming climax that involves watching a scroll of names.

It might have been more interesting to follow the other side of the equation. The fixer side of the story doesn’t really get the attention it deserves. It would have been interesting to really flesh out the economy of the business, and the relationships that a fixer would necessarily have to maintain. But the movie is light on the details of the work, and instead gives a lot of time to Berns’ home life, which provides little conflict beyond an overbearing mother and a really thin subplot concerning her much younger sister.

Even with the three-year wait, the movie doesn’t look very polished. The scenes feel rushed and messy, characters talking all over each other. The acting tells two very different stories. Aga Muhlach plays it with surprisingly little humor, pushing melodramatic notes. Regine Velasquez is loud and broad and openly comedic. The actors are on two different planes, and that makes their eventual connection seem overly forced. Similarly, the rest of the cast is pretty much divided along the same line, with one side of the story much broader than the other.

Some things just aren’t meant to be. Of All The Things is definitely a product of perseverance, the production surviving through years of delay. But all that time has not been kind to it. It’s a tedious, unfocused mess that forces chemistry where none really exists. It doesn’t really work as a romance, or a comedy, or a drama, though it tries so hard to be all three. The ravages of time do a real number on the movie, with scenes seemingly contorting to accommodate the new realities that the future has brought. It might have been a decent movie once. Today, it feels more like a cautionary tale.

My Rating:



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