their first movie, A Very Special Love was anything but believable. Laida, Sarah Geronimo‘s character, was too giddy, too pa-cute, too over the top, for comfort. And Miggy, John Lloyd Cruz’s character, was so confusingly inconsistent: one moment he was a scary boss, the next he was someone who would go to an employee’s birthday party; one moment he was singing videoke, the next he was downright mean.
the love story was also such a stretch, given the fact that Laida was a new employee in the office where Miggy was boss, and she does look younger (no matter the clothes and make-up) than him. given Miggy’s general attitude towards his employees, it was unbelievable that he would even be remotely interested in this girl who obviously had the hots for him.
it is in this sense that You Changed My Life was an interesting sequel, because it had to have more than just the kilig factor and John Lloyd’s laglag-panty looks — both of which are on overdrive here. while Laida’s character had evolved and matured, Geronimo’s take on her was still on “I love you John Lloyd!” mode. it was clear that Laida here had very little sense that love doesn’t equal dependence, and that she couldn’t save this man from messing up his new job as head of one of his family’s businesses, even with more love for him. even more interesting is the fact that Laida, even when in her head she could always help save Miggy from self-destruction and shame, had no idea what kind of help Miggy actually needed.
he, who wanted to revive the business by taking on the challenge of an account that would require more than the company’s standard quota. he, who decided that the only thing he could do was overwork his employees, hire more contractuals, and remove all incentives so that he could have more money to go around. he, who screamed at the workers, without realizing the kind of work they were doing.
it was clear here that what Miggy needed was a change in ideology — not just Laida saving his ass by, well, becoming his employee (which was what she wanted to do). when the movie dared allow for the workers to stage a rally and stand by their refusal to work, i couldn’t help but be hopeful that there would be a spiel on workers’ rights. instead, all the movie did was talk about the value of the worker in the context of this particular family enterprise. instead, all they talked about was the universal liberal notion of “our company is our people” and we must “care for them” — without realizing that this sounded more about charity than about valuing the worker.
without Laida’s help, Miggy is forced to take responsibility for the company and its people. meanwhile, Laida was kept in the dark about how horrible this man she had fallen in love with was, a tragedy in itself given that she comes from a working class family and is in fact an employee of Miggy’s family.
which does make it almost impossible that this rich, super guwapo, yummy young man — an eligible bachelor as he is wont to be created by the movie — would fall in love with this spit of a girl, who barely knows herself and is obviously of a different social class. in reality, someone like Laida would dream of a man like Miggy, but never get him. in reality, Laida’s social class would dictate a particular ideology, the kind that would allow her to take stock and realize that she is an employee and he is the boss, and nothing else.
but this is a Pinoy love story after all. the kind that wants us to believe that the impossible is possible, that we can all be Laida and have someone like John Lloyd take us on a helicopter ride, pick us up at work everyday, do the sundance with us, and will want our powerhug. and yes, when I shift from Geronimo’s Laida character to the real John Lloyd, i mean to say this: that like the images of real and true workers’ empowerment, in the context of capitalism, this remains as fiction. and it is almost entirely impossible.
p.s.: Rayver Cruz‘s acting here was priceless as Macoy. as the third member of a love triangle that never happens, his longing looks should be put in a bottle for the enterprise of the forlorn. this kid will give many of those hunks on ABS-CBN a run for their money — and i’m not even talking about his dancing.