Movie review: Yassi, Ruru carry time-travel romcom 'Video City'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Sep 24 2023 08:54 AM

Yassi Pressman and Ruru Madrid in the time-travel romcom 'Video City'
Yassi Pressman and Ruru Madrid in the time-travel romcom 'Video City'

Han Pena (Ruru Madrid) was a 25-year old film major, whose experiencing personal stress at home that made him listless and distracted in school He could not even come up with a storyline for his upcoming film thesis requirement, which was fast approaching. His mother, critically-acclaimed and fan-beloved film director Anita Laurel Pena, had recently fallen very ill and lost her ability to talk and move, now dependent on her dutiful husband (Soliman Cruz). 

One day, Han had to go to an old internet cafe called Taympers to work. When he curiously pressed the rewind button on an old car-shaped VHS tape rewinder there, Han suddenly found himself in a Video City VHS home video rental store. In his panic, he knocked down a display rack, which annoyed salesgirl Ningning Magtulis (Yassi Pressman). Seeing the date on a newspaper, Han saw that he was in the year 1995.

This rom-com used a time-travel trope in its story. The writer did not bother anymore to explain how or why the time travel happened by pressing the rewinder -- no backstory, it just happened, which may be just as well. Han also did not have a hard time convincing Ningning that he came from the future, as she would actually witness him disappear into thin air when his visiting time was up, and reappear from out of the blue the next day. 

There was an interesting twist added to the time travel. Starting at 12 hours, Han would have an hour less every time he went back, so he can only do this for 12 days. The usual sci-fi warning that any changes done in the past can significantly change the future was mentioned, yet Han violated this rule at least twice, with seemingly no consequence. The ending was one puzzling game-changing innovation, but there was no more time or need to explain it.

Whether director Raynier Brizuela was able to pull off his time travel gambit well or not, the performances of Ruru Madrid and Yassi Pressman carried the love story through with sincerity and chemistry. 

Brizuela also shared his love for cinema: Han as a film major, Ningning as an aspiring actress, Han's mom as a film director, the nostalgia of VHS renting and iconic scenes from films like "Bituing Walang Ningning" and "Maging Sino Ka Man." 

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