Distant cousins with a couple of weeks away from their “birth” are My Neighbor’s Wife by Jun Lana and Ruel Santos Bayani’s No Other Woman. Cousins because of the same bloodline; roots of deceit, infidelity and loose storylines make up the latest attempts on sex-drama from big industry players Regal Films and Viva Films with Star Cinema. While the movies are both centered on marriage and the faltering of one, they are at times too similar yet too abstract to be compared.
My Neighbor’s Wife tells the story of two married couples connected by the husbands who have been best friends since college. Bullet (Jay Cuenca) and Aaron (Dennis Trillo) had been in each other’s throat and they didn’t even know it. Aaron has secretly wished a life like that of Bullet, luxurious and affluent tended by owning condominiums and bar business, the later has secret affairs with women while his wife Jasmine (Carla Abellana) is a Bree Van de Kamp complete with a delicatessen and carefully OC-approved cupboard of bags. Bullet on the other side, who might not have wanted Aaron’s wife Giselle (Lovi Poe), could actually use a woman like her; someone who has the vigor of a party animal and more of that in bed. The fateful night between Giselle and Bullet sparked the exchange of the pawns in their own game. As for No Other Woman, the title role belongs to Cara (Anne Curtis), a Zalderiaga heiress who fittingly embodies the term— studied in New York, clad in Chanel, owns a top-down, sprawled over bed of roses. Problem arises when Cara meets Ram (Derek Ramsey) an ambitious furniture designer/ salesman eyeing dealership in Costa Luz resort, a soon-to-open Zalderiaga venture looking for contractors for its interiors. Cara who takes the challenge of tempting the married designer with a dare hackneyed as telenovelas go, “no commitment, don’t you dare fall in love,” according to Cara but of course she gets caught up in her own game and indeed feels jealousy towards the legal wife Charmaine (Cristine Reyes).
No Other Woman and My Neighbor’s Wife lead up to painful consequences of cheating and adultery, discarded dreams are thrown into the unknown and the future too bleak for each of the person involved. My Neighbor’s Wife, told in a simple, linear fashion like No Other Woman, demand more from its actors as the story implies that each of the couple’s marriage have been in years, adding years to the players age who sadly do not get represented in their wardrobe or countenance as they act very university most of the time. Quite obvious of the reason in its casting, these movies have chosen young set of actors with beguiling presence in their negligee and tight abs glowering under the sun for rather seasoned characters that asked of wider range and fuller understanding of each role.
For My Neighbor’s Wife, Aaron by Trillo shows trying to be in control in dealing with his inner demons of being second-rate to his friend Bullet while Abellana’s Jasmine gently develops her character as the story unfolds, she becoming less “morose” but more secretive and suspicious. These two show a certain promise for the film as it develops into predictability and yawns. Poe and Cuenca serve their part well filling up more of the sexual component in the film, its marketing— the actor’s butt exposure and Poe’s innate appeal. In consideration of No Other Woman, the stage belongs to Curtis who seems to be a natural in portraying the posh Cara who likes “nice things” because according to her “I deserve it.” Ramsey and Reyes on neutral grounds delivering what they are asked but could benefit more if the film has given a little backgrounder of their marriage as the film hinted that the marriage was an early-on.
Even though both of the films tackle the fall out of marital affairs, each of them shamble in different ways. No Other Woman works more like a guilty pleasure for its viewers, reminiscent of ’90s killer one-liners and catfights that elicited applause from the audience while My Neighbor’s Wife takes a lesser indulgence in confrontation and boisterous bitch-slapping but tried to resonate in audiences’ own values and characters’ exposure of intent using earrings as Chekov’s gun in its revelation.
Both high in sexual enigma on screen, the films conclude to problematic endings. My Neighbor’s Wife fast forward to five years showing the two couples almost bumping at each other at the airport. Five years, a more interesting period that if shown on screen could have explored the real deal of what deceit is mainly about or in that case the movie try to untangle. On the case of No Other Woman, Cara’s return from New York chanced her to meet Ram and Jasmine again at an expo with their baby all smiles at her. The end has no intention of patching the loose subplots thrown at the audience earlier in the story (Ram’s relationship with his dad, and Cara’s too). First glance, it gives a blind consolation that the characters in these movies have had their share of happy ending (in spite of betrayal, they have paid no price for deceit) and a relief from need-to-ponder-after predicament for the audience. But it is a wonder, one impressionable at that, is how exactly it happened? Audience saw the cheating, its campiness and heavy-laden drama but how did the characters deal with them, nobody wants to see the difficulty of that instead? In the end, it feels like a ride of some sort, you remember going for it earlier but you had a memory lapse, reaching the end credits without knowing how exactly.