There’s a store named Toko Barang Mantan which allows people to sell and buy exes’ stuff. People will come to the store and dump their exes’ stuff in the hope of forgetting the memories; the store, owned and managed by a rebel colleague student named Tristan (Reza Rahadian), will then sell the stuff to the willing buyers looking for gifts or antics. The profit share mechanism is unknown. But, at least, that’s the unique premise of this romcom—making memories a commodity.
Directed by Viva Westi (Koki-Koki Cilik 2) based on the script by Titien Wattimena (Dilan series), Toko Barang Mantan treats memories of ex-lovers to be some products to sell (capitalism has found a way to people’s feeling apparently). Tristan, leaving his study to focus on managing the store, has the history to have many exes during his colleague time; that’s where he found the inspiration to sell them in a bazaar which apparently becomes the prototype of his store. Only this time, he does not just sell his personal “collections”, instead, he sells other people’s stuff along with the backstories. On a daily basis, he’s aided by two loyal storekeepers, Rio (Iedil Dzuhrie Alaudin) and Amel (Dea Panendra).
Between daily transactions, Toko Barang Mantan unravels the irony when the story introduces Laras (Marsha Timothy), Tristan’s only serious ex. From there, the narrative often goes along the way to tell the audiences that, while Tristan sells exes’ stuff, he never has the guts to get rid of the memories about Laras. There’s the meet-cute; there’s the implicit exposition on how their relationship fails; and, there’s the attempt to reconcile. The problem is, instead of making the story more focused and felt more ironic, the rom-com between Tristan and Laras only further proves that the narrative is lack of exposition and consistency.
Both Tristan and Laras are difficult individuals. For Tristan, love is about real-life deeds and proofs; for Laras, proofs of love are important, but so is verbal expression. Toko Barang Mantan is fortunate to cast Reza Rahadian and Marsha Timothy in the portrayal of the main couple. While both actors are known for the range of their performance, their best feature is the micro-acting. There’s this electric energy that emanates from them respectively, which makes their actions believable without having to burst into the dramatic mode. When they’re together, their chemistry flourishes and fills the screen with its presence. Director, Viva Westi, is aware of this potential and, as the credit dues, is keen to explore that more than the plot.
Ironically, as we learn that Toko Barang Mantan has all the unique selling points including the clever ideas of capitalizing memories of exes and Reza Rahadian-Marsha Timothy’s grounded chemistry, the movie barely sells them. The ironic idea about the store is never getting a fair pay-off, at the end; and the ending comes from nowhere. The least that it can present is cramming audiences’ attention with the much-anticipated chemistry between the leads.