In the recent teaser of Partners in Crime, a comedy movie directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina, Ivana Alawi tries to break up with Vice Ganda. Yup.
In a move that screams a producer’s dream come true, the Unkabogable Star Vice Ganda and vlogger-actress Ivana Alawi team up for the first time in Star Cinema’s latest offering, Partners in Crime. Directed by the Cathy Garcia-Molina, the film follows the story of an ex-couple who will meet each other again as they figure in well, a crime. The film will be part of this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival’s (MMFF) slate of movies for the holidays.
In the 35-second movie teaser released on October 10, Ivana’s character can be seen shouting at Vice Ganda’s, calling him names like “sugapa,” “famewhore,” and “makasarili,” setting the mood for what is expected to be a complicated relationship. The two can also be seen happily cleaning a car and Vice Ganda in a clown costume. By the end of the teaser, Ivana’s character attempts to end their relationship to which a bloody Vice Ganda replies, “There was never an us,” inspired from Sarah Geronimo’s line in the movie, Maybe This Time.
A FRESH COLLAB
“Excited ako makasama si Ivana. Malapit siya sa’kin. Hindi pa kami close na close pero magaan siya sa’kin,” Vice said when asked about her feelings on his new collaboration with Ivana during the movie’s story conference last September 9. “Punong-puno ako ng excitement, anticipation, and masaya lang ako, masaya akong gagawin ko ‘to. Buong-buo ‘yung loob ko and buo ‘yung puso ko na gagawin ko ‘to. Handa ako.”
Ivana also stressed how grateful she is to be partnered with the blockbuster comedian. “I was so happy and so excited. Hindi nga ako nagtanong kung ano’ng kwento kasi, oh my gosh, to be with Vice pa lang, malaki na ‘yun sobra para sa ‘kin. It’s an achievement,” she shared. “I’m very thankful to ABS-CBN for the chance and the opportunity kasi noong bata ako pangarap ko lang ito eh. Ngayon nagkakatoo na siya dahil sa ABS-CBN kaya I’m very grateful.”
The star power in front of the camera is also visible behind it with Cathy Garcia-Molina helming the project. Her past memorable works include Love at First Stream, and box-office sensation Hello, Love, Goodbye starring Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards. “Hindi siya pressure for me. Excited talaga ‘ko to be ‘Cathy-fied’. I expect and I willingly embrace ‘yung ‘Cathyfication,’ the ‘Cathyfication’ of Vice Ganda this Christmas,” Vice said of his first project with the director.
Meanwhile, Ivana shared her excitement and respect for the director. “I’m very excited kasi alam ko kung gaano kagaling si Direk Cathy and I know she would really bring out the best in me. Sabi ko nga, wala akong pakialam sa itsura ko, basta alam ko si Direk Cathy, I know she would do the best para sa’kin, para sa movie.”
The movie marks a first for many. This is direk Cathy’s first collab with Vice and Ivana. Meanwhile, this is Vice’s return to the cinema since the pandemic started. “Napapanood ko si Vice so alam kong he’s a funny person. So alam kong hindi kami mahihirapan. And si Ivana nagka-usap na kami. Mabait, mabait na bata. Ako naman ang lagi kong fino-foster na atmosphere sa set ay family, masaya lang, eh ganun din sila, so walang problema,” the director said about her impression of the duo.
While the entire premise of the story is still unclear, the trio has also teased about what the audience can expect about the film. “Iba-iba ‘yung maramdaman nila sa pelikulang ‘to. May tawa, may kurot sa puso…marami siyang sangkap. Maraming lasa. Hindi lang Vice Ganda brand, hindi lang Vice Ganda experience. May Ivana experience, may Cathy Garcia experience. So, this is not a Vice Ganda movie, this is a Vice Ganda, Ivana, and Cathy Garcia movie,” Vice revealed.
For direk Cathy, Partners In Crime also marks her coming out of the usual mold of the rom-coms that she has made in the past. About the many possibilities of the movie, the award-winning filmmake said, “Exciting actually, very exciting. Ano bang genre kalalabasan nito? Ano ba talagang pelikula kakalabasan nito? Ang totoo kahit kami hindi namin alam. Excited ako so much kung anong klaseng pelikula itong magagawa naming tatlo.”
Since the release of Partners in Crime’s teaser, the people’s reactions so far have been divided. While there are fans who are so excited about the fresh tandem, many netizens think that some of the creative choices, as seen in the clip, leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Pag eto nagkamake over tas naging straight yung buhok… lordddd nagsstart pa lang ako makakita ng maraming tao na inaaccept yung curly hair nila, step backwards na naman po ata ang magaganap 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️ https://t.co/UFk4BulPMG— Mico⁷♕🏁 (@micotaegi) October 10, 2022
Twitter user @micotaegi reacts to Ivana’s character’s curly hair and feels that if the movie pursues a narrative arc where she eventually straightens her hair as part of a makeover, then it’s “a step backwards” regarding the progress of modern-day beauty standards. The user also reasons that they’ve seen people who are just starting to embrace their curly hair and implies that the movie will negatively affect their perception.
there’s a lot of filipinos who struggle with their darker skin complexion because media keeps on pushing such unrealistic beauty standards on our face… ivana alawi isn’t the victim here lmao— ๑ (@livelikepotter) October 10, 2022
“There’s a lot of filipinos who struggle with their darker skin complexion because [the] media keeps on pushing such unrealistic beauty standards on our face,” another twitter user remarks, this time alluding to Ivana’s character’s markedly brown skin tone. “Ivana alawi isn’t the victim here lmao,” they add.
Moreover, a netizen affirms all the skepticism while predicting that the character’s “dark skin” and curly hair will be the “butt of the joke” until a glow up happens and then she finally becomes “beautiful.” Twitter user @samskijornski_, on the other hand, wishes that this would not be the case because otherwise, the movie will be offensive to her, who is a “curly-haired morena.”
Makakaasa kang walang ganun. https://t.co/BHFxveiby7— jose marie viceral (@vicegandako) October 10, 2022
Meanwhile, Vice Ganda himself has also been reacting to these mixed thoughts. At one point, he reassures @samskijornski_ that Partners in Crime will not offend her. In another tweet, the comedian-host calls out another skeptic’s negative reactions to the film. “Ang mali ay yung ang nega nega nega mo!!!!!” the tweet reads. Finally, Meme Vice tells another netizen to not stress themselves out figuring out what the movie is about as they have only shot four sequences for the film.
Will the netizens’ doubts prove to be valid? Will the movie stay problematic? Or will it prove them all wrong? Partners in Crime is part of the 48th MMFF and will premiere this December.