Film Review: Woke Up Like This (Vhong Navarro and Lovi Poe)

Woke Up Like This (2017), was a comedy film starring Lovi Poe and Vhong Navarro under the direction of John Elbert Ferrer. The film’s general premise revolved around the body swap between Sabrina (Poe) and Nando (Navarro) after both characters independently wronged Apo (Lou Veloso), a mysterious homeless.

Woke Up Like This Movie Poster (Vhong Navarro and Lovi Poe)

First of all, the use of frames in the introductory sequence provided good contrast between the lead characters’ lifestyles. It showed Sabrina being a socialite who works as a top endorsement personality and model. On the other hand, Nando was a breadwinner and a remarkable basketball player from a working-class family in Tondo, Manila. It would be good to note that Nando’s family also took in his former love interest’s son after passing away in a vehicular accident. The striking similarities Sabrina and Nando have, however, were their rudely inconsiderate behaviors and sharp tongues, so much so that both of them were so full of themselves. It was even mockingly funny that for a team sport, Nando was no team player. Then, that one fateful night, which also happened to be the night the two celebrated their birthdays, one blow to their birthday cake candles set things in motion.

This film utilized body-swapping as its main storytelling device. Numerous media have already used this storytelling device, popular ones of which include Freaky Friday and 17 Again. For Woke Up Like This, specifically, living in the other’s body made the two lead characters experience the superficial and materialistic mundane, as well as the complex and profound reality of life. On the more personal level, Sabrina and Nando also learned to appreciate each other’s hustle and goal-driven character. From being self-centered and selfish, Sabrina and Nando learned to value family, friendship, sacrifice, and humility.

All in all, Woke Up Like This was a light watch. As a comedy film, Woke Up Like This used usual street humor, language-based hilarity, and well-executed parodies of popular movies and advertisements. But embedded amidst the comedic storyline were life lessons around bettering one’s attitude. It was also such a comforting touch that the male lead did not end up with the female lead. That would outright be predatory beneath the surface, as body-swapping between two heterosexual characters opens room for sexual harassment. Instead, the male lead fell for the female lead’s friend, starting on friendly terms and banking on a steady development from friends to lovers. On the technical side, the editing for the scene where Sabrina and Nando swapped back was worth complimenting – kudos to the creative team and editors.

For long-time fans of Lovi Poe, this film will absolutely be a breath of fresh air. We’ve all been used to seeing Poe give life to sexy and alluringly beautiful characters. Meanwhile, we’ve known Navarro for starring in comedy, horror, and drama films, but more heavily as a comedian. So, a collaboration between these two stars could only mean either one of these two: we would see Poe in a horror film, or we would finally see Poe star in a leading role in a comedy film! How lucky are we to get the latter?! Who would have known or expected Lovi could act very “siga”  and boyish. And if it wouldn’t be a far reach, her well-done performance was quite reminiscent of her father, Fernando Poe Jr. “Da King.”

You can now watch the film on Netflix!

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