Single/Single: Love Is Not Enough Never Settles into a Satisfying Cinematic Rhythm

The cable miniseries makes an awkward transition to the big screen.

by Philbert Dy

 

Single/Single: Love is Not Enough continues the story of the cable TV show. When we last left Joey and Joee (Matteo Guidicelli and Shaina Magdayao), they had just gotten back together. But Joee had gotten pregnant with her ex-boyfriend, Steve (JC Santos). The movie basically kicks off with Joee having the baby, and Joey doubling down on his commitment to her by moving into her apartment. The film then documents the struggle of the young couple as they try and raise this infant amid financial and personal problems.

 

This doesn’t quite feel like a movie. It kind of feels like another season of the show compressed into a feature length film. It moves episodically, the story constantly shifting focus from one issue to another, separate plotlines made to co-exist in the same space. It’s an awkward fit, to say the least. There are just some things that don’t work as well in cinema. For example: a TV series has the space and the freedom to sometimes focus on characters other than the leads. And as charming and talented as the supporting cast of this film is, the narrative just grinds to a halt every time it cuts away to them.

 

 

It feels like it never really gets to dig deep into the meat of what it’s exploring: the struggle of this thoroughly modern romance—two young people sharing a space, unmarried but raising a child together. They have a couple of interesting arguments, but there isn’t any real follow through on much of it. Too often, the solution to their problems comes from an external source, the fights hardly ever leading to anything substantial. Too much of the film has the two main characters taking separate journeys, the couple unable to find the time or the energy to deal with their problems together.

 

This might be the point of it, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant or interesting to watch. It just becomes repetitive, the film stringing together a series of ugly arguments without really finding the grace that should exist between the characters. There’s also an issue with tone, as the film often toys with bouncy, goofy comedy, while at times diving headlong into serious tragedy. It feels strange, and it does reinforce the idea that the movie wasn’t really meant to be a movie. There just isn’t enough breathing room to allow the proper resolution of a lot of these conflicts.

 

 

The production doesn’t really feel cinematic, either. There are just entire sequences that feel like they were blocked for television. The movie as a whole feels really small. Matteo Guidicelli and Shaina Magdayao are fine in these roles, but the movie can feel so choppy that it’s hard to get a sense of who these characters are really supposed to be. Brian Sy and Anna Luna are similarly handicapped in this way. They are both fine performers whose performances don’t really shine through the obfuscation of this movie’s clumsy assembly.

 

Single/Single: Love Is Not Enough never really settles into a satisfying cinematic rhythm. It still moves and feels like a television show, with A-plots and B-plots working within an episodic structure. And while there are certainly merits to what the film is providing, it just doesn’t result in a cohesive and compelling viewing experience. Up until the very end, the movie seems to be operating under the structure of a seasonal program, denying audiences the kind of emotional and dramatic resolution that one should be expecting from a typical film.