Out of boredom, three girls play with an inherited Ouija board that opens the doors of their lives to three spirits who have connected with them. Unaware that they promised to help them ... See full summary »
"My Bebe Love: #KiligPapaMore" has a clever story and is fun to watch, but has its shortcomings.
Most Americans have probably seen more foreign films than they realize, and I'm not just talking about foreign countries co-producing a primarily American film. Let me show you what I mean: Did you know that all three of the "Taken" films were produced solely by a French company? Or that the 1983 Best Picture Oscar winner "Ghandi" was a production of India and the UK? The 2015 English language film "The Salvation", which takes in the American West, was produced by five different countries: Denmark, the UK, South Africa, Sweden and Belgium! Similarly, 2015's English language "Clouds of Sils Maria" was a joint production of France, Germany and Switzerland. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
The question then, is since you're used to seeing foreign films, how many have you seen that were produced in that country's native language? If you've liked any of the movies I mentioned in the last paragraph, then once in a while you might want to try taking that extra step of going to a movie with subtitles. You might even enjoy the experience. ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", anyone?) Over the years, I've enjoyed foreign language films from Argentina, China, the Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Mauritania, Mexico, Russia and Venezuela. Now, my list also includes the Philippines, after the romantic comedy "My Bebe Love", subtitled in English, but made mostly in the native Filipino language of Tagalog. In this case, as usual, I'm glad that I decided to add another country to my list.
First of all, a little background to establish the proper context for appreciating this movie. The full title is "My Bebe Love: #KiligPapaMore". "Bebe", as you'd probably guess, is a pet name, the same as referring to a significant other as "baby". The subtitle's meaning is less obvious, however. It does not, as it might appear, refer to anyone ending his or her father's life. "Kilig" is a Filipino word that doesn't translate directly into English, but is similar to the phrase "tickled pink" and is used in a romantic context, as in when someone is newly infatuated with another person, or how a person might feel when observing a couple acting romantically or getting engaged. Whether kilig, as it is used in this movie's title, refers to "papa" having those feelings about something he's going through or experiencing kilig because of what he sees in someone else is a good question. There's a lot going on in this movie – and a lot to get excited about for Filipinos. This film's four main actors are all very famous in the Philippines. They include Ai-Ai delas Alas, "the Philippine Queen of Comedy", Vic Sotto, a hugely popular actor (the Philippines' "Box Office King" in 2004, 2005, and 2006) who is also a comedian, TV show host and film producer. And then there are young TV stars Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, who have created a fan frenzy since they started playing a fictional TV couple known as "AlDub". (Think "Bennifer", or "Brangelina", but on a TV show, as if the supercouple Luke and Laura from "General Hospital" had been "Lauruke" or "Lukera".) In the film, Mendoza plays Anna Carillo, the beautiful and rebellious young daughter of kind, but proud widower Vito Carillo (Soto). Richards, the other half of Filipino television's AlDub, plays Dondi Talatala, the sweet, shy and principled young nephew of obnoxious spinster Corazon Talatala (Alas). Vito and Corazon first meet when his car almost runs her over and she flips out. When they next meet, they discover that they are business competitors, each of them owning rival party planning companies. Corazon flips out again. They're arguing over conflicting bookings at a particular event venue, a situation that leads to Anna and Dondi crossing paths and getting to know each other. When Vito and Corazon each find out about the blossoming romance between his daughter and her nephew, they are far from happy. Because of their hatred for each other, they both oppose the young couple getting together. Vito and Corazon meet secretly, planning how to keep Anna and Dondi apart. This results in nothing I can write without spoiling something unless you've figured out where this is going. But even if you have...
"My Bebe Love" may be predictable, but that doesn't make it any less fun to watch the story play out. The ups and downs in the interactions between Anna and Dondi, and Vito and Corazon make for a fairly uncommon twist for a romantic comedy, even if you do guess how it all ends up. (Think of it as an upbeat version of "Romeo and Juliet" playing on a cable or satellite channel, while "You've Got Mail" or "The Shop Around the Corner" is playing on another channel and you're clicking back and forth between the two, while you can also faintly hear "When Harry Met Sally " playing on your neighbor's TV.) These two young leads are adorable and are fun to watch, while their older relatives are a little less so. Sotto is funny, but Alas is so over-the-top in her early scenes that it's hard to believe that their characters would ever be able to have a normal conversation, let alone share a drink together. In spite of some overacting as well as some bland dialog, this film is a pleasant diversion that'll make most Movie Fans smile. "B"
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