In the intervening years, many things have changed though some things stay the same.
The friendship between Cinta and the gang is still going strong. Maura is still chic (and a clean freak), Milly is still dim (yet witty), Karmen is still tough (yet empathetic), Cinta is still the center and takes charge of the group, and Rangga is still broody. Now, Maura is married (to her real-life hubby, Christian Sugiono) with 4 kids, Milly is expecting her first child (with…Mamet indeed!), Karmen is divorced, and Cinta is the bride-to-be. Whereas Rangga remains single.
The news about Rangga and Cinta no longer an item and the latter’s engagement is dropped in the film’s opening minutes as we’re catching up on their 2015 selves/lives. I didn’t find them surprising because one could easily do the math: 3 females and 3 males are waiting for Karmen who was just discharged from rehab, four of whom are husbands and wives, while Cinta has a(nother) big news to share with them besides the girls’ plan to have a short trip to Yogyakarta. And in case you aren’t aware, the group is now down to four. Alya passed away in 2010.
Ugh. I didn’t like it as much as the fact that Cinta happily accepted Trian’s (Ario Bayu) proposal, not because the man isn’t Rangga but because i didn’t like where the story would go. You may understand what i meant when the scene following the engagement announcement is Cinta groping for the box containing her memories with Rangga, looking at old pictures and rereading well-kept letters, which looks like the umpteenth times, wistfully. One of them is the break-up letter, dated 2006. This ain’t right.
Across the ocean, at the other side of the world, Rangga is doing the same thing (sans the letters). It’s been a while since he tapped into his creative side and is now a jaded coffee shop co-owner. It’s a humble establishment — a nifty one i’d say since it has people lining up before opening hours. His business partner prods him to resume writing, which is hard task without his mind on the right track due to a certain someone.
The universe gives him the reason and chance to return to Indonesia and sort things/feelings out: the half-sister he doesn’t even know exists, Sukma (Dimi Cindyastira), comes unannounced and asks him to visit his ailing mother. She goes all the way from Yogyakarta to New York with that sole mission and is angry when Rangga flatly declines — with a valid point: mom left him 25 years ago he no longer feels any attachment to her. Now he is obligated to pay her a visit to hear her excuse for abandoning her family two-and-a-half decades ago? I don’t think Sukma even has the right to force Rangga or worse, be upset over his rebuff.
He does ponder over it afterwards and decides to fly to the country, stopping off in Jakarta and straight to Cinta’s abode. He won’t meet her there because she has moved house and is currently in Jogja. Upon arriving in the gudeg city, he strolls through the narrow aisles and takes snaps of the city life instead of beelining for mom’s house. That’s how Karmen and Milly spot and then tail him, to whom his wish to meet with Cinta is relayed. Queen of egos is quick to say no, although several long thoughts later decides to settle things once and for all, deeming it important to get a closure on their blindsided breakup 9 years ago so that she can move on with the marriage plan without any lingering regrets. Cue: that widely parodied/mememized lunch-table angst-fest talk.
It is a tense moment filled with awkward silence, albeit not half as nerve-racking as their first meeting in the art exhibition. Cinta isn’t as rattled despite still putting on a surly front. There’s no exchanges of pleasantries as they address what matters most — their unexplained split — where Rangga admits it was unfair* while Cinta counters it was cruel of him to end their 4-year relationship over a snail mail. Late as it is, he apologizes and i half-expected her to snap, “Basi! Gue udah mau married!” She doesn’t, though she does indirectly tell him the news, by oh-so-overtly flashing the ring. Heh.
(*I mistakenly heard it as a question in the trailer, when it’s undoubtedly a statement in the movie.)
She eventually gives him the chance to explain the cowardly move and upon deeming she gets the closure she’s after, offers a goodbye handshake. But then she asks about his presence in the city and the proposed short walk to tell the story in full is extended multiple times on the basis that it might be their last meeting. And so the initial plan to talk their unresolved problem out for an hour ends up being an outing for a day, as the ex-lovebirds move from eatery to eatery and from one tourist site to another, in a sequence that feels like a travel movie. Before they realize it, it’s already dawn, which means real goodbye as Cinta and the gang are flying back to the capital that day. But of course Rangga has slipped another note of poem for her to read when he’s not within sight — the one featured in the teaser — because it’s more impactful that way.
I understand that Ada Apa dengan Cinta 2 is first and foremost about these two, but it really comes at the expense of other characters being nothing more but plot devices to re-connect them. Even Cinta’s buddies. To be fair, they hardly had their own arcs in the first one, but then, they presented a dilemma for Cinta to choose between friendship or love as her spending time with her crush and lying to the other four led up to an almost tragedy. Here, they’re really supportive of the meet-up and even covering for her when Trian contacts them cuz she’s unreachable.
Then and now, Cinta reneges on her promise to be with her friends because she loses count of time when with Rangga. (Here, the other 3 didn’t get to enjoy themselves as they’re busy checking on her whereabouts the whole day.) Then and now, Cinta easily loses her cool and walks away in a huff whenever Rangga misspeaks, and the latter merely watches on. Then and now, they part on the bad note. Then and now, it’s Cinta who makes the final call. Then and now, Cinta is taken.
The past relationship is arguably more easily broken off as Cinta was half-forced into it by her circle; the commitment to bring the relationship into marriage is a different thing. Trian seems a decent guy despite not sharing the interest in art. He doesn’t have to. It’s not okay for her to ignore his calls. He has the right to know about her not only running into her “legendary” old flame but also spending the day with him, and to get upset over it. What i dislike about this supposedly complicated situation is because there’s only one way out: the kindhearted fiancé backing out. Nevertheless, i was curious to see how it’s going to be resolved, who would call it quits. Alas, it happens off-screen, leaving us hanging. But i guess only a few cares about this, because at the end of the day, what matters more is the ultimate reunion and happy ending, right? Oh well, for the movie whose lead characters consider the journey is more important than the destination, it doesn’t seem to walk the talk. I can’t tolerate shows presenting a conflict yet choosing to sweep in under the rug. Cuz then, what’s the point of it all? Because it might otherwise be too tragic for Cinta to be pining for Rangga all these years?
To me, that sounds like a lazy writing. I wonder if they rushed the production to take advantage of public’s frenzy over the LINE mini drama, because the setup and plot points could be made more fleshed out, polished, and less clichéd. AADC2 ended up more funny than romantic as many lines were so awkwardly cheesy i couldn’t help but giggling. 14 years living in New York has eased Rangga up as well as equipped him with a smooth tongue. However, let’s not forget why he flew to Jogja in the first place. While it’s nice to see him make peace with mom, i wonder why he put off doing so until the last minute. In the end, we didn’t get to hear why she left him.
I am also disappointed that they killed Alya, whose cause of death was kept till at least half the movie. Until then, i was questioning if it was due to another attempted suicide. ‘Fortunately’, it wasn’t the case, though it’s really apparent how crucial her role was in the group’s dynamic and in encouraging dithering Cinta when they had to make Karmen fill in for her absence. It’s very uncharacteristic of her to be inward and accommodating, her past mistakes notwithstanding; she would have been the first to get riled up by Rangga’s request to reconcile.
That’s not to say i didn’t enjoy this sequel — i did, albeit feeling it ran a bit too long — yet i couldn’t ignore the plot holes. They should’ve probably held a special screening of the predecessor prior to this release, if only to refresh our memory as certain details have escaped mine. Is it disappointing? No. Is it necessary? No. I didn’t came out of theater overwhelmed with positive feelings. Again, it’s not easy to reach the legendary status AADC did; while the magic is still there, AADC2 can’t replace the spot AADC holds in my heart. Oddly, i may even like the 10-minute clip better. That said, i clapped my hands at the closing scene…all because of Mamet. Gosh, many supporting characters can be scene stealers, but Mamet is the ultimate ending stealer, twice in a row!
Director: Riri Riza
Production: Miles Films in association with Legacy Pictures, 2016
Cast: Dian Sastrowardoyo, Nicholas Saputra, Adinia Wirasti, Titi Kamal, Sissy Prescillia, Dennis Adhiswara, Ario Bayu, Christian Sugiono
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Friendship
~ stills captured from its official trailer ~