Movie: My Bebe Love

"My Bebe Love"

Vic Sotto plays the role of Vito who finds himself at odds and in a bitter professional rivalry with Cora, played by Ai-Ai delas Alas. The two are both in the business of mounting special events. The conflict happens when their respective wards – Anna (played by Maine) daughter of Vito, gets romantically entangled with Cora’s beloved nephew Dondi (played by Alden). As expected, the “parents” actively reject the budding romantic involvement between the star-crossed lovers.

It’s that time of the year again when theaters in the Philippines are showing only entries for the Metro Manila Film Festival. And as is the case every year, my mom had the family watching a Vic Sotto movie. Which means that I watched My Bebe Love.

I didn’t hate it.

I mean, I didn’t love it either, but it wasn’t as bad as some of the other Vic Sotto-starrers I’ve been subjected to. But it wasn’t as good as the Vic Sotto films that got it right either. (I have very low expectations set when it comes to films starring Vic Sotto. Ever since the very first Enteng Kabisote film.)

The thing with My Bebe Love is–it doesn’t seem to know who the central characters are. And I sort of blame the AlDub phenomenon. (I’m not going to explain what the AlDub phenomenon is, but you can read about it on Wikipedia. That’s right. It has a Wikipedia page.)

Now, watching My Bebe Love, it was obvious that the story being set up is supposed to center on conservative Vito clashing and then falling in love with the liberal Cora. They’re the ones with the premise and promise right at the beginning. Their respective charges, Anna and Dondi, are only supposed to move their plots along. It’s a very basic story set-up.

I don’t know during what part of the production period the AlDub phenomenon happened, but you can clearly see that when this movie was being filmed, some Vito-Cora development was thrown out the window in favor of giving more screen time for the better-loved supporting players. And it ruins the love story that the film was supposed to be about: that of Vito’s and Cora’s.

The thing is, this could have not been the case.

I know the producers of My Bebe Love were banking on the popularity of the AlDub love team to make this movie bigger than it was projected to be. But how hard was it to make their participation not feel shoe-horned in?

The set up is there. The stakes are there. But instead of using the additional scenes featuring the supporting characters to give their story more substance, they were underutilized and made to do what they’ve been doing every day in their Kalyeserye on television. And it makes their plot, the subplot, disjointed. Because, obviously, their characters had plot points they needed to hit. But instead of just progressing with those and letting those plot points define their character arcs, they were given scenes that didn’t serve anything more than a fleeting sense of romance and giddiness.

And they’re not the only ones to suffer. Suddenly, the main plot of the film is also missing two of its most vital parts: it’s supporting plot, and the time to progress their story forward. At one point, it felt like they were the ones supporting the subplot.

I feel bad for all the actors involved in this film. There was potential for My Bebe Love to be something more (and something different) from what the Vic Sotto films usually turn out to be), but it was wasted on poor story structuring and character progression.

Movie: Enteng ng Ina Mo

"Enteng ng Ina Mo" directed by Tony ReyesI’ve already resigned myself to the fact that whenever a Vic Sotto movie is showing, I’m going to be accompanying my mother in watching said film. And Vic Sotto always has an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival. And after last year’s successful crossover movie, Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote, I guess  it was only logical for Vic Sotto to entertain another crossover with two successful film franchises: this time his Enteng Kabisote is meeting the wacky family of Ang Tanging Ina Mo. And thus we have, Enteng ng Ina Mo.

Unlike Ang Panday 2, which focused too much on its main character’s unerring virtues and hero moments, Enteng ng Ina Mo doesn’t shy away from the faults of its lead characters. To a fault, actually. Because being an Okey Ka Fairy Ko kid, I didn’t really like the way they wrote Enteng Kabisote’s character in the first thirty minutes of the film. But I’ll get to that later. What I really want to talk about first is the fact that the movie knew what was going to work this Christmas season: family.

I’ve said it before, I think, that when an Enteng Kabisote movie revolves around family, it really works. And it’s inevitable that the film would revolve around family seeing as it’s crossing over with the Tanging Ina film franchise. So I had high hopes for this film. Well, higher hopes than I did for Ang Panday 2. So when I was disappointed by what I saw in Ang Panday 2, I figured that I would probably like this film less. Except I didn’t. Well, I did at first–but when the action started rolling, I stopped disliking it–and actually found the movie enjoyable.

The main arc of the story follows Satana (Bing Loyzaga) as she hatches yet another plan to takeover the faerie world of Enkantasya. But this time, one of her new minions forsees a prophecy that says an exceptional mother would be her undoing. Satana thinks the prophecy is talking about Ina Magenta (Amy Perez), her sister and long-time rival. But when she succeeds in abducting the ruler of Engkantasya, her minion maintains that the prophecy still holds true. An exceptional mother, one who has something Satana never will possess, will be the evil queen’s undoing. And so Satana turns her eyes on Enkantasya’s heir to the throne: Chlorateam (Gwen Zamora)–a faerie who deigned to fall in love with a mortal, and one whose sole purpose in life is to love her family.

With Ina Magenta missing, the kingdom of Enkantasya calls on Chlorateam to take on the responsibilities of ruling the faerie world–something Satana doesn’t want happening. So she decides to play with Chlorateam’s family–by casting a spell on her husband Enteng (Vic Sotto) to fall in love with another woman, thereby destroying the foundation that makes Chlorateam stronger than her: her family.

What Satana didn’t count on was the fact that Enteng would fall in love with an exceptional mother: Ina Montecillo (Ai Ai delas Alas), who eventually turns out to be the mother foretold in her minion’s prophecy. What follows are hijinx after hijinx as Enteng’s and Ina’s family work on making sure that Enteng and Ina don’t end up together; to save the world of Enkantasya, as well as the heart of Ina Montecillo.

Enteng ng Ina Mo has a good balance of comedy, fantasy, action and heart that is perfect for the Christmas season. And while the Enteng Kabisote franchise does make a return to the cheesy effects it employed prior to last year’s Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote, the good material was enough to make it work in the end.

Now, as for my earlier gripe about Enteng’s characterization; when Enteng learns of Chlorateam’s decision to take over Enkantasya, he makes her choose between her family and her responsibility. And while I understand that it was a spur of the moment thing that has Enteng feeling hurt and betrayed, it would’ve worked just as well has the writers decided for Enteng to take the martyr route. That would’ve been more in character for Enteng who has risked his life over and over again for the safety of Enkantasya. Just saying.