This new film is a prequel to "Four Sisters and a Wedding" (2013). Four sisters, Teddie (Toni Gonzaga), Bobbie (Bea Alonzo), Alex (Angel Locsin) and Gabbie (Shaina Magdayao) get back together at the house of their mother Grace (Coney Reyes) for the wedding of their youngest brother CJ (Enchong Dee) to his girlfriend of only four months, Princess (Angeline Quinto). As the ladies try to prevent the wedding from happening, wounds of past rivalries between them would get reopened. That catfight scene between Angel Locsin and Mocha Uson would eventually became an iconic social media meme.
In the present, the four sisters were having a Zoom call with CJ who was having problems with his wife. They reminisced back in their student days when their parents Caloy (Dominic Ochoa) and Grace (Carmina Villaruel) were also facing a crisis brewing in their marriage. The girls, Teddie (Charlie Dizon), Bobbie (Alexa Ilacad), Alex (Gillian Vicencio) and Gabbie (Belle Mariano) got together to try to investigate what was going on between their parents. The girls also have their first bittersweet experiences with boys.
The four young actresses (Dizon, Ilacad, Vicencio and Mariano) in the new film were really able to capture the essential idiosyncrasies of the distinctive characters originally portrayed by Gonzaga, Alonzo, Locsin and Magdayao in the first movie, respectively. The ditziness of Teddie, the confidence of Bobbie, the rebelliousness of Alex, the kindness of Gabbie -- it was all so uncannily similar, and so entertaining to watch. They each deserve praise for their comic timing as well as their skills in tearful drama, individually and as an ensemble.
As Mr. and Mrs. Salazar, Dominic Ochoa and Carmina Villaroel were consistent and reliable as ever. Irma Adlawan played Grace's wealthy mother, who looked down on Caloy's ability to provide for his family. As the young CJ, teenage Clarence Delgado had certainly trimmed down from how we first knew him first as a child star. Cai Cortez played the young Tina Marie, the girls' driver (played by Cecil Diaz in the first movie), who brought in the wacky private detective Susiebeth Sanchez (Kakai Bautista) into the action.
As Teddie's high school crush Jeremy, Jameson Blake was a good acting match for Charlie Dizon's Teddie. Joao Constancia played young rocker Chad (the cad played by Bernard Palanca in the first movie), the thorn between Bobbie and Alex ever since. Jeremiah Lisbo had good screen presence as Gabbie's conflicted crush JP. Pinky Amador (as Mrs. Linda Malvar) and 2016 Tawag ng Tanghalan finalist Gigi de Lana (as Love Mae Tete) played the suspects causing the problems in the family.
Writer Vanessa Valdez weaved the same magic that she wrote the script of the first movie as with this prequel. The winsome mix of riotous comedy and melodramatic family drama in her writing style is clearly noted. The best moments were invariably towards the end when the escalating comic hijinks transition into genuinely touching and tear-jerking drama Filipinos love. This film can probably can stand alone on its own, but I feel it should be more meaningful to watch it after you have seen the first movie first.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."