MANILA, Philippines – Jose Javier Reyes’ My Bebe Love: #Kilig Pa More is a film that is reasonable enough to know its audience.
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Its ambitions are low and its aim is precise. The result is a predictably amiable fluff, an inoffensive piece of entertainment that desires nothing but to serve a phenomenon that caught everyone by surprise.
Let’s not kid ourselves, however. Part and parcel of that fan service is a ridiculous desire for boundless income, which the film will undoubtedly accomplish, at the expense of fair storytelling. My Bebe Love doubles as an extravagant billboard for products who want a pie out of the money-making craze. It is just gratingly confounding.
So let me take the earlier statement back. My Bebe Love is offensive because its ambitions are low, notwithstanding the fact that it has almost nothing to lose since it has already won way before the film finished production.
The least the film could have done is to stretch the psychology that resulted in the celebrated love team of Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards. Instead, it retreated within the confines of safety and became nothing more than a forgettable hodgepodge of clichés.
Two love stories
In My Bebe Love, Mendoza retires her shtick as the maid of a righteous grandmother to play the rebellious daughter of Vito (Vic Sotto), a successful but lonely businessman. Richards, for his part, plays Dondi, the submissive nephew of Corazon (Ai Ai delas Alas), Vito’s business rival. They meet. They fall in love.
Unsurprisingly, they are forced apart by Vito and Corazon. Little do Vito and Corazon know that in the process of teaming up to set their respective wards apart, they are already forming their own love story.
Between the two love stories, it is Vito and Corazon’s that fare better. Perhaps it is because it is the one that is played without the burden of pleasing fans, with both Sotto and Delas Alas gamely playing at each other’s faults to infuse their romance with a sprite of humor.
Mendoza and Richards merely reiterate their familiar charms, with Reyes acknowledging the fact that it is enough to depict them staring longingly at each other to delight the fans. Sadly, that is all there is to it. Their romance is nothing more than a gratuitous spectacle, a diversion from the real heart of the film, which is Vito and Corazon’s hilariously blossoming affair.
Babying the romance
The film shows that it can muster an unusual charm from the most unlikely of sources. Sotto and Delas Alas, although way past their prime, exhibit all the banter, wit, and boldness that could have been shared with Mendoza and Richards, had the latter love team been given a less monotonous arc to play with.
My only beef with My Bebe Love is that it does not strive enough. It squanders the potential of one half of its leads by keeping things at bay and babying the tandem to the point of pointlessness. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ Tirad Pass. Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema. Profile photo by Fatcat Studios