Review: Started up as a road film, where two titular celebrated hipsters’ coffee shop, Filosofi Kopi, roams around cities and islands of Indonesia, yet Filosofi Kopi 2 (subtitled Ben & Jody) only officially starts when life happens to strike the collective dream. Wandering around as a vagabond coffee shop isn’t a choice anymore; therefore, Ben (Chicco Jerikho) and Jody (Rio Dewanto) decide to return to Jakarta in a homecoming to start over, to start fresh; in a homecoming that leads to other homecomings.
In starting over, Ben and Jody encounter Tarra (Luna Maya), an entrepreneur who is eager to invest for Filosofi Kopi’s rebirth. During the same period, a young, austere barista named Brie (Nadine Alexandra) is recruited by Jody to assist behind the bar. The reawakening, orchestrated by those four central figures along with their old comrades, turns out bringing more challenges not only to the idealism of the coffee shop, but also to Ben and Jody’s almost immortal bromance.
Whole setup in feels like self-aware brand management documentation made presentable as narrative with dramatic conflicts juxtaposed into. From there, Filosofi Kopi 2 feels like a full satire to Indonesian startup climate (or else it goes to full-tutorial mode?). When all else fails, the double-headed startup founders—the coffee-headed one and the cuan-headed one—decides to get back to basic; highlighting from the buy-back issue to quest for investment, on which idealistic views are often crashed with customer-minded views and exuberant sense of belonging contrasts with investors’ expansion ideas. Everything feels more technical than philosophical; and conflicts tend to be more impulsive than idealistic. However, there’s one thing that keeps the story grounded to its title: its persistence to go to basic, to homecoming.
The idea to return to Jakarta a.k.a. the first homecoming almost feels like a crusade (a holy task to claim back the Holy Land). Ben and Jody, by perforce, revisits their old pages of their voyage, sometimes their older pages, to further move forward with unimaginable risk—including their faith to each other and their lifetime friendship. Involvement of more heads (in this term, Tarra and Brie) and business heat (including reviewers’ comment) have pushed Filosofi Kopi further that the founders have even thought, to the extent of setting up a premature branch in Yogyakarta as well as inspecting a future one in Makassar.
The ‘crusade’ homecoming leads to others—whether to Ben or Jody or even Tarra and Brie’s past ‘home’. Each triggers high-staked feuds between the founders and whoever on their paths. Each unravels bleaker, uglier and bitterer truth about unknown forces that intercuts fates of those four chaps, including the two female characters that cuts in quicker and deeper into the ‘myth’ than simply as delicatessen. For all the conflicts and homecomings, Filosofi Kopi 2 convolutedly serves a coarser and unsweetened taste of the coffee philosophy to viewers.
It takes more than perfecto or tiwus to finally brew a whole new story, yet, Filosofi Kopi 2 manages to sneak further than philosophy and undermine reality to present a larger-than-narrative brand, although the story often gets too convoluted. Threads are overlapping others and characters are getting ‘over-characterized’ here and there, but they serve a greater good to garnish the narrative. On a fortunate light, they manage to have Rio Dewanto and Chicco Jerikho in portraying buddies whose bromance is even thicker than coffee, which makes Filosofi Kopi 2 presentable with their tugs of war. Their bromance mingling up with effective role placements to Luna Maya’s Pandora-box character and Nadine Alexandra’s balancer along with engaging visuals (characterized with dynamic shaky camera style reflecting viable coffee-making process and robust color tones) and cool soundtracks save the whole sequel from being an ambition-over-substance result.
After homecoming by homecoming and revelations by revelations, Filosofi Kopi 2 might over-roast the beans a little too much, but they’ve managed to have most celebrated over-the-top baristas, in the titular characters, to finally brew a variant of coffee, which is obviously bitter but presentable. The standard might be prematurely synthetic, but they are ready to expand as a brand.
Filosofi Kopi 2: Ben & Jody (2017)
Drama, Comedy Directed by: Angga Dwimas Sasongko Written by: Angga Dwimas Sasongko, Jenny Jusuf, M Irfan Ramly, Cristina Armantyo, Ni Made Frischa Aswarini Starred by: Chicco Jerikho, Rio Dewanto, Luna Maya, Nadine Alexandra Runtime: 108 mins