Jessica Zafra: This is what you want? Really??
By all accounts the Viva-Star Cinema production No Other Woman is a smash hit, and in show business there is no arguing with pots of money. We may assume from the box-office grosses that this is the sort of movie the Filipino audience wants to see.
What exactly is this movie saying?
1. Character is unnecessary; all you need are stereotypes. In the traditional defence of marriage melodrama these are:
1.1. The Handsome Husband
1.1.1. The Handsome Husband is so hot that he is literally bursting out of his clothes, which are at least one size too small for him so as to emphasize his well-developed pectoral muscles.
1.1.2. The Handsome Husband flirts outrageously with the customers who come to his store, but that’s all right because it sells furniture.
1.1.3. The Handsome Husband is devoted to his wife until a scheming slut throws herself at him. He cannot be blamed for succumbing because men are men and their brains are in their pants.
1.1.4. The Handsome Husband is only slightly less animated than the furniture he designs and sells.
1.2. The Beautiful Wife
1.2.1. The Beautiful Wife could be the sexiest woman in the archipelago, but now that she’s married she must suppress her sexuality in shapeless clothes and pale make-up.
1.2.2. The Beautiful Wife cooks nutritious meals for her husband and personally supervises his laundry.
1.2.3. The Beautiful Wife consoles her husband by having sex with him every time her domineering father makes disparaging remarks about his professional prospects.
1.2.4. The Beautiful Wife, being inexperienced in the ways of the world, confuses seduction with arson.
1.2.5. The Beautiful Wife is a good girl, hence she does not wear mascara and she has long, straight black hair that she wears in a ponytail.
1.3. The Sexy Mistress
1.3.1. The Sexy Mistress has lived in New York, ergo she is “liberated”, which in the Philippines is a synonym for “promiscuous”.
1.3.2. The Sexy Mistress speaks a strange, over-enunciated English and begins each sentence with an arch laugh (Ah-ha-ha!). And she smokes.
1.3.3. The Sexy Mistress is a bad girl, hence she wears copious amounts of mascara and has long, dramatically wavy hair.
1.3.4. The Sexy Mistress does not cook.
1.3.5. The Sexy Mistress likes to taste forbidden pleasures, so she eats seafood she is allergic to, which is just daft.
2. All fathers are mean and horrible, hence responsible for your issues.
2.1. The Handsome Husband’s father is a philanderer, embezzler and failed businessman, so The Handsome Husband will also be all of the above.
2.2. The Beautiful Wife’s father is a tacky philanderer, so The Beautiful Wife will marry same.
2.3. The Sexy Mistress’s father is domineering and arrogant, so The Sexy Mistress refuses to commit to a relationship until she meets someone who really can’t commit because he’s already married.
3. Women should humiliate themselves for their men.
3.1. They should engage in public bitch fights in which handbags become metaphors for the man they are fighting over.
3.2. They should invite each other to dinner and threaten to kill the bitch who is boinking their husband.
3.3. If thinly veiled verbal aggression does not suffice, they should have a brawl in a public place.
3.4. It does not occur to them that the person connected to the penis is also responsible for their troubles.
4. Nothing solves a domestic problem like a near-fatal accident.
4.1. The cheating husband endures excruciating physical torment as a substitute for castration.
4.2. The suffering wife has to forgive her husband because the thought of living without him is more than she could bear, and she’s forgotten that she left him.
4.3. The scheming mistress is jolted back to her senses.
5. The moral of the story is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
5.1. The cheating husband crawls back to his wife, who doesn’t seem particularly enamored of him but is compelled to defend their marriage.
5.2. The wife always wins because there is no alternative. It’s not as if she could ditch her unfaithful spouse—there is no divorce in the Philippines (Well, technically).
5.3. The mistress goes back to New York, where all the bad girls are supposed to go, which makes you wonder who won exactly.