Crazy Beautiful You is another example of what appears to be a growing trend in Star Cinema movies. There is a story in this movie that doesn’t really fit well inside the romantic movie mold. It is a melodramatic tale about an illegitimate child of a politician and his struggle to keep his family afloat. Matched with a cutesy puppy love romance, this major plotline ends up feeling odd and unjustified. In spite of its formidable charms, this film ends up feeling bipolar; the only logical result of a system that only churns out a few kinds of pictures.
Problem child Jackie (Kathryn Bernardo) is forced to join a medical mission in Tarlac with her mother (Lorna Tolentino). She is promised that if she makes it through a week of living in an Aeta village, her mom will pay for her to live and study in New York. The mayor's illegitimate son Kiko (Daniel Padilla) is tasked with looking after her and setting her straight. Jackie is determined to just get through the week, rejecting Kiko's efforts at every turn. But as the two spend time with each other, they find commonalities that bind them together.
If this film were just about these growing closer together, it would be perfectly fine. Unfortunately, it isn't. The second half of the picture introduces a third party into the proceedings, one that doesn't really pose much of a threat to the established relationship. But it is the gateway to a melodramatic exploration of Kiko's family dynamics. There is a good story in there, but the film can't really support the depth of emotion that this side of the narrative calls for.
This is a romance that takes place over the course of one week. The two primaries don't even get to the point of kissing each other. This puppy love relationship is emotionally escalated to the point where Kiko is made to confront the heavy issues that come with being the illegitimate child of a mayor. Though these scenes have some interesting insight into what it is to be an outsider in your own family, there isn't really enough time to justify the sudden serious turn. It ends up making all the drama feel a little silly. It all feels especially weak since the catalyst for all these strained, emotional statements is just a couple of young boys fighting over some girl.
The film is better when it is just letting kids be kids, just watching as they take their first tentative steps into the thorny but rewarding realm of romance. Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla continue to be a fine match. Bernardo doesn't have nearly enough material to work with, but she elevates everything that she's given. And it's nice to see Padilla growing out of the contrived brooding persona of his earlier films. It turns out that Padilla is the second coming of his uncle, projecting a goofy charisma that is clearly a more comfortable fit.
If Crazy Beautiful You just wanted to be a light romance, then that would be fine. If it wanted to be a family melodrama, then it needed to take a pretty different approach. Mashing the two together results in a film that is charming for a while, and then becomes a deflating slog. And after all that heavy drama, the film disregards all that and just runs headlong into the formula happy ending. It is another rapid change of tone that just doesn’t work for the film. There’s plenty of good in here, but they just don’t work together.