It all started when 17-year-old Athena Dizon unwittingly plays a trick on resident heartthrob and bad boy, Kenji de los Reyes.
Has Athena gotten herself into more trouble than she can handle?Or has she actually found herself a boy she can call hers—gangster be damned?She's Dating the Gangster splits its story between two time periods.In present day, Kenneth (Daniel Padilla) is traveling to Legaspi, hoping to find his father Kenji (Richard Gomez) among the survivors of a plane crash.He's accompanied by Kelay (Kathryn Bernardo), who insists that her aunt Athena is actually Kenji's great love. In the early nineties, a heartbroken Kenji (also played by Daniel Padilla) enlists the aid of Athena (Kathryn Bernardo) in the hopes of making his ex-girlfriend Abigail jealous.
While the two don't really get along at first, their game of pretend turns into something real.Most of the movie is made up of the scenes set in the nineties. In these scenes, the movie carries an affably silly, Technicolor energy that serves as a nice contrast to the overly serious romances that we tend to get from the mainstream. Inevitably, the film makes a bid for melodrama, and here it unravels quite a bit.Expert direction, however, from one of the great masters of our time, keeps things as bearable as the story reaches for a conclusion it can't quite justify.The film's version of the nineties isn't what one would call realistic.Instead, it's a heightened fantasy colored by the romance of the story being told.Early detractors of this film bemoaned the use of the word "gangster" to describe Daniel Padilla's character, but the film itself seems fully aware of how silly it all is.