Here Comes The Groom: Finding the common ground


PEOPLE WITH strongly opposing beliefs often find it hard to reach an understanding with one another.

As one typically views the other party with great hostility, it is difficult to have a discussion that may clear the air and help them realize that they actually have more in common than they think.

As an entry to the Summer Metro Manila Film Festival 2023, Here Comes The Groom is a sequel to the 2010 comedy film, Here Comes The Bride which is also written and directed by Chris Martinez. Borrowing the same premise as its prequel, Here Comes The Groom follows the story of a Catholic family swapping souls with a group of drag queens after being involved in a car accident at Magnetic Hill during a solar eclipse. With a wedding and a gay beauty pageant on the line, they must all find a way to settle their differences in order to get things in order.

Even if it is a sequel set in the same universe as Here Comes The Bride, the film can work as a standalone. It does a good job in refurbishing its concept to a newer audience with jokes and pop culture references befitting the current times. However, fans of the prequel might be confused about Eugene Domingo’s supporting role as Joy Gising because this is a completely different character that has no connection to Precy, the one she played in the previous film.

photo grabbed from Quantum Films’ Here Comes the Groom trailer/Youtube

As the film centers itself between the narratives of two groups of people who are polar opposites of one another, its introduction is clever in cementing their dynamics as well as each character’s motivations. While the film plays around with various camera angles in several scenes, it does not take too long in showing the dilemmas and personalities of the characters and banks on the comedic value that comes with the scenario. The saturated color throughout the film protrudes the humorous atmosphere of the scenes even further.

With their established characters eventually switching bodies with one whose personality is completely opposite to theirs, the entire cast was able to deliver a delightfully convincing performance all throughout the film. Starring alongside regulars in the industry, Xilhouette and KaladKaren managed to leave a lasting impression with their film debut as the drag queens Wanda and Wilhelmina, respectively. As their characters are possessed by two straight men, their performance warrants applause as they manage to be convincing and entertaining in every scene. Xilhouette captured the intensity of Rodrigo Sr.’s (Keempee de Leon) homophobic tendencies very well while KaladKaren satisfyingly showcased the tough qualities of Rodrigo Jr. (Enchong Dee).

Despite the fictitious premise of soul-swapping, it is commendable that the characterizations within the film are treated with a sense of realism. This is prominently seen in the character of Rodrigo Sr. who is introduced as a homophobic lay minister. As he swaps souls with Wanda, his hatred was not easily dulled as it would be in other films that typically sugarcoat such an issue by the end. Instead, the film chooses to show his reluctance in accepting people who are gay even as it reaches the climax. This depiction shows the reality that while it is not impossible for a person to change his or her opinions and beliefs about certain ideas, it is still a long and arduous process that cannot be resolved overnight, if at all.

photo grabbed from Quantum Films’ Here Comes the Groom trailer/Youtube

While being a light-hearted comedy, the film does not shy away from tackling themes and issues that are present in society today. The depiction of a barangay chairman who is eager to garner praise from her constituents as she aspires to become a mayor is a subtle nod to how politicians tend to be like when elections are upcoming. The character of the homophobic lay minister who condemns gays as sinners showcases the views of some people toward the LGBTQIA+ community.

A scene showing Whilhelmina being harassed by drunk men depicts the disturbing culture of sexual harassment in the country that has persisted despite the enactment of laws punishing such acts.

Overall, Here Comes The Groom is a light-hearted film that is unafraid to deliver the message of acceptance and the importance of understanding the viewpoints of those on opposing sides. It manages to convey the truth that despite the differences people may have, they can still share similarities in values that are important to them. This found common ground may allow them to be patient and understanding about each other’s situations in life and eventually find room for respect and kindness, no matter how long it may take. F

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