Sandy Toledo (Amanda Zamora) is the heiress of the Toledo Group of Companies. She had a crush on architect Sky (Richard Juan) now based abroad, who called her Kasuy. For her mother Mira's (Che Ramos-Cosio) coming birthday, her no-nonsense father Lorenz (Justin Cuyugan) assigned her to work with the school's football team captain Rocky Avila (Chico Alicaya) to plan a special event to raise funds for her mom's pet charity project.
Rocky's grandmother, whom everyone called Yayay (Peewee O'Hara), owned Cafe 95. It was their ancestral home built in 1919 which is now also a restaurant known for its buko pie and hot chocolate. It is a favorite hangout for the students, like math genius Gabbie (Andi Abaya) who had a big crush on football player Topher (Kobie Brown), and rom-com nut Genesis (Ralph Malibunas) who has a crush on purple-haired musician Fin (Gail Banawis).
The significance of this particular film is that is is the maiden film project produced by Star Magic Studios, the film production arm of ABS-CBN's talent division Star Magic. All six main young actors had been housemates of "Pinoy Big Brother: Connect" (Dec. 6, 2020 to March 14, 2021), including the two top teen finalists Andi Abaya and Kobie Brown. Richard Juan was also a housemate back in 2015, before he became one of the "PBB" hosts in 2020.
Writer Mary Rose Colindres wove three stories of young love into the mix: rich girl who thinks poor boy is sucking up to her dad, nerdy girl who wanted to noticed by the jock athlete, hopeless romantic guy pursuing a girl who was still healing from a previous love. Colindres was also able to weave in a little detail about a lost pin with a motivational message which worked its magic with everyone, and this was very ingenious.
And just when you think the story was over, there was a bigger story which emerged with 20 more minutes to go, giving this film more emotional heft. This new angle of the story in fact also brought more suspense and complications to one of the main love stories. As this was a very feel-good film, you can say that you may predict how things are going to end. However, this was for me a serious twist that I liked.
The young actors were still in their first film so we may need to cut them some slack when it comes to acting expectations. They were still rather tentative and self-conscious in front of the camera, and tended to still smile a lot and look cute for their fans.
Despite some serious themes, director Theodore Borobol kept things light and breezy so the newcomers did not need to emote too deeply. Of the six, Abaya and Alicaya show the most promise so far.
KTV review: Andi Abaya, Chico Alicaya show promise in 'Connected'