They’ve been friends forever — OK, for at least ten years.
She calls him “Fuffy,” and he knows her as “Fream.” They are “pet names,” she explains to the tattoo artist they visit to immortalize their connection. “She’s like my pet,” he cracks.
“He’s the brother I’ve never had,” she further explains. “I’m the brother she’s ALWAYS had,” he translates.
The tattoo artist wants to know why they’re not a couple. So does most everybody they cross paths with in “My Amanda,” a Filipino romance of the bittersweet persuasion.
But he (Piolo Pascual) always has some other woman in mind. And she (Alessandra de Rossi) keeps making mistakes and taking big falls.
“I will always be there to pick you up,” Fuffy, aka TJ, narrates. He does that throughout the film, line after line of promises and confessions (in Filipino — with subtitles — and English). “I never tire of listening to you…I’ll always be by your side.”
The veteran actress de Rossi is also writer-director of “My Amanda,” and she takes a shot at showing a cute, cuddly and funny “near miss” romance with a touching third act twist. The first two acts never quite get the job done, even if the finale has a nice payoff.
Amanda is on the cusp of marrying Kelvin for much of the film. It’s happening. It’s off. A done deal. And uh-oh, is there a divorce coming? And every time TJ comes by to pick her up — literally, in a new Jeep, Camaro or Humvee — after being dumped.
She prattles on and flirts and makes suggestive come-ons in that three-packs-and-a-whisky voice that is de Rossi’s trademark.
“Your girlfriends come and go. I am CONSTANT and consistent…I loved all your girlfriends like sisters. I’ve lost SO many sisters…You secretly think I’m beautiful. Don’t you feel anything for me?”
TJ may say “I’m going to take care of you…You are the light of my life” to himself, in voice over. But out loud, he’s all flip and dismissive.
“You saw my CLEAVAGE!”
“I got dizzy just trying to find it!”
Nothing she tries, not even getting blitzed together just before her wedding, seems to work.
“I think I’m like Winnie the Pooh,'” she confesses, hungover after they’ve passed out on a hotel bed together.
“I’m not wearing any underwear!”
The trouble with the “cute” is that there’s not enough of it. A tipsy karaoke dive into Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” starts a bar brawl. It’s…almost funny.
That’s the best label for this insanely chatty film’s first two acts. They never quite get giddy. Pascual (“Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Breakup Playlist”) may be a gifted comedian, but that doesn’t come off here. That voice-over saddles his character with serious moon-eyed devotion and hints of sad things to come.
That casts a wet blanket over the film that won’t let it or its cute couple catch fire, or at least set off sparks. This is an ill-fated romance where the “bitter” is spilled all over the “sweet” long before everything is supposed to turn “bittersweet.”
MPA Rating: TV-14, drinking, profanity, adult situations
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Piolo Pascual
Credits: Scripted and directed by Alessandra de Rossi. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:29