KTX review: Coco, Angelica deliver 'kilig' in picturesque OFW rom-com 'Love Or Money'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Mar 13 2021 10:52 AM | Updated as of Mar 13 2021 11:14 AM


KTX review: Coco, Angelica deliver 'kilig' in picturesque OFW rom-com 'Love Or Money' 1
Coco Martin and Angelica Panganiban in 'Love Or Money'

Leon (Coco Martin) was a man with simple dreams who worked various small jobs in Dubai to have money to send back home to his father (Dante Rivero) and brothers. Angel (Angelica Panganiban) was the owner of an events company she ran in Dubai with her Tita Faye (Gelli de Belen) and Mima (Matet de Leon). One night, their paths crossed in the fancy restaurant where Leon worked as a waiter. Against all odds and danger, the two fell in love. 

Angel turned out to be the mistress of an elderly Spanish billionaire Enrique (Norm McLeod) who just so happened to be an extremely possessive type and would resort to cruelty when he got jealous. However, Angel just endured his abusive behavior because it was his wealth that supported her business, as well as the money she sent back home to her ailing mother (Teresa Loyzaga). As the title asked, will Angel choose love or money?

By simply reading the synopsis above, you can already realize how this old plot had been overused and rehashed in Philippine cinema. It had been countless times that we have seen this conflict between love and money played out in Filipino films of various genre over the years, from serious drama to slapstick comedy. This new one, written by Crystal Hazel dela Cruz and directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar, took the middle ground and played it as a rom-com. 

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As with many Filipino films set abroad, it also made a statement about the lives of Filipino overseas workers. It showed how OFWs barely have any money saved up for themselves as relatives at home become fully dependent on their income. This one showed how hard it can be for OFWs to keep up with the constant requests for signature branded gifts or tuition in expensive universities. 

With the second lead couple of Juniver (Ketchup Eusebio) and Cat (Cai Cortez), this film also tackled complicated romantic relationships between OFWs. Along with scenes which celebrated successful Pinoy entrepreneurs in Dubai, there were also scenes that depict dangerous "sidelines" they may have to resort to in order to keep up with the urgent financial demands back home. 

Aside from the beautiful tourist spots and exciting activities of Dubai, the only aspect that kept this film effective as entertainment were leads Coco Martin and Angelica Panganiban, delivering romantic thrills even when they're well into their 30s. 

Sure, we've seen them play similar characters before in other films, with other screen partners. Even if they can practically phone their performances in familiar roles like these, these two stars still knew how to tickle their target audiences. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."

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