“Unli Life” begins with Vhong Navarro‘s character, Benedict, getting dumped by his girlfriend Victoria (Winwyn Marquez), on the very day he means to propose to her. He then stumbles upon a strange bar where he gets offered by the bartender with an equally strange drink, which the bartender claims, makes time traveling possible.
This literally pulls back the time, sends Benedict to different periods in history, and voila! Time travel!
The film would be extremely messy if we were to treat the jokes as fistful seeds strewn across an eccentric narrative. It is a lot of hard hitting humor to take, frankly speaking, but the scatter actually lends an important characteristic to this surprisingly charming comic experiment.
The film manages to bring chaos and quiet at the same time, but keeps a stunning dosage of chuckle-worthy comedy, spontaneously present in both moments.
There is an explosion of comic energy and verve that fuels the entire narrative to let it go places, but what ultimately makes the film soar is Miko Livelo‘s fleck-less maneuver at the helm. Ideas like this are not foreign to local cinema anymore, but attempts rarely get easily sold to the audience, either because they lack the appeal, or simply because marketing efforts are just too poor to reach the intended audience. What Livelo did is imbue every moment of outright silliness with sweetness, a beautiful sentiment lurking in its every thread of utterly absurd sequences. Of course, he has to be thankful that big-budgeted foreign films are practically kept out of the competition.
But one can’t dismiss the ingenuity Livelo’s lent to the production, which makes the possibility of pleasing the crowd, regardless of Hollywood’s presence in the market, easily attainable.
Vhong Navarro’s antics don’t get easily sold, these days, but here, his character manages to actually make him still likeable. Surprisingly, he carries Benedict with ease and makes his engagement in the absurdity, feel vital and inevitable.
And that is amidst the fact that the story treads through far more interesting characters in the plot, each one granted with genuine moments of farce and triteness.
On the whole, “Unli Life” feels like a roller-coaster ride that throws audience to different levels of comedy, each one essentially representing different styles and eras that it practically makes traveling in a time machine, possible. Livelo’s ingenuity lends this film a surprising charisma, making all the chuckles and laughs, truly earned.
5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible
An official entry to the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, ‘Unlilife’ is now showing in cinemas nationwide.