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Soft Hearts

Executive producer, Vic del Rosario Jr.

Executive producer, Vic del Rosario Jr.

Directed by Joel Lamangan, Eric Quizon. Screenplay, Ricky Lee, Mel Mendoza-Del Rosario. Camera (color), Romeo Vitug; editor, Jess Navarro; music, Dennis Garcia; production designer, Tatus Aldana; associate producer, Hermie Go. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 13, 1999. Original title: Pusong mamon. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: Lorna Tolentino, Albert Martinez, Eric Quizon, Caridad Sanchez, Jake Roxas, Matthew Mendoza.

Faint echoes of “The Birdcage” and “The Object of My Affection” resound in “Soft Hearts.” Even so, this formulaic farce scores with winning lead performances, sharply written characters and a welcome generosity of spirit. Offshore prospects are iffy, despite the comedy’s enormous popularity on home turf. (Three leads reprised their roles in a sitcom spinoff for Philippine TV.) But ample fest exposure is likely, and pic is well suited for Americanized feature or television recycling.

Ron (Albert Martinez), a rising young telecommunications exec, unwittingly attracts the attention of Annie (Lorna Tolentino), a marriage-minded co-worker. After he gets too drunk at an office party to resist her advances, she pounces on him. But when she becomes pregnant, Annie discovers that Ron is a closeted homosexual who’s deeply committed to live-in lover Nick (Eric Quizon, who doubled as director after Joel Lamangan suffered a minor stroke). Only slightly discouraged, Annie moves into the couple’s home and tries to “cure” Ron, much to Nick’s chagrin. Pic is thoroughly predictable but lightly amusing as three mismatched characters — and, eventually, a baby — gradually coalesce into an offbeat family unit.

Soft Hearts

(PHILIPPINES)

Production: A Viva Films release of a Neo Films Presentation of a Kaizz Ventures production. Produced by Vincente del Rosario III, Veronique del Rosario-Corpus.

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