Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Do Bidoo Bidoo

August 30, 2012

"I Do Bidoo Bidoo" (by writer-director Chris Martinez) does not deny that it was inspired by the success of "Mamma Mia".  However, instead of ABBA songs, this local counterpart uses the similarly diverse discography of the APO Hiking Society, a collection of Filipino pop classics accumulated for more than 30 years since they started to record in the early 1970s.

This is a story about two families.  The Polotan family is lower middle class, while the Fuentebella family is super rich. Rock Polotan (Sam Concepcion) falls in love with Tracy Fuentebella (Tippy dos Santos), leading to an unexpected teenage pregnancy.  Rock's parents are Pol (Ogie Alcasid), a one-hit wonder songwriter who gives guitar lessons to kids in the neighborhood, and Rosie (Eugene Domingo), a caterer to funerals.  Tracy's parents are Nick (Gary Valenciano), a career-centered businessman, and Elaine (Zsazsa Padilla), a lonely neglected housewife.  The obviously radical class difference of course led to a very disastrous "pamamanhikan."  This consequently led to all the characters rethinking about their own situations with their respective partners in love.  Will love prevail in the end?

All the actors come up with very energetic performances.  They all did their own singing of course, even Eugene Domingo (who was very brave here, in more ways than just her singing).  Gary V. and Zsazsa were as coldly aristocratic as Ogie and Eugene were noisily "jologs."  As the young lovers, Sam Concepcion and the ingenue Tippy dos Santos have a good chemistry in their scenes and duets together.  Special mention go to scene-stealing supporting characters, namely Jimmy Fabregas as the war-freak ex-soldier Villafuerte grandfather and Neil Coleta as the Rock's conflicted best friend. Frenchie Dy and Sweet Plantado (of the Company) also turn in some pretty funny moments as Eugene's best friends.

This love story was told in the words of APO Hiking Society's biggest hit songs.  As corny and cheesy as that idea sounds, it actually works and was a lot of fun!  (**** I will be mentioning song titles after this, so if you want to be surprised as to which songs will be included, you may want to refer back to this review after you have seen the film.)

There were some scenes may remind you of other musical films.  The "Awit ng Barkada" scene with Eugene, Frenchie and Sweet was straight out reminiscent of the "Chiquitita" number from "Mamma Mia." The choreography of the "Syotang Pa-Class" scene was adapted from the "Get'cha Head in the Game" basketball dance number from "High School Musical."  That said though, I thought the use of these songs for those topics in the story was so smart and very appropriate.

You can sometimes predict what song is coming up because of the words and situation that lead into the song. We get the song "Panalangin" when the characters were praying in a chapel.  The song "Ewan" came right after a character says that very word.  "Salawikain" came when the characters were having a "salawikain" argument over lunch.  But again, predictable does not mean that these were bad ideas.  The execution of these scenes were very well done.

Of course, those beautiful APO love songs were really put to very good use.  There were those in perfect position, like the emotionally bitter "Tuyo ng Damdamin," the devastatingly tragic "Nakapagtataka" and the romantically pleading "Paano."  There were those in the most hilariously unexpected contexts, like "Mahirap Magmahal," "Kaibigan,"  and most especially the scandalously Rated-R naughty interpretation of "Di Na Natuto" (which I honestly did not know was an APO song first before Gary V. hit big with it).

The sensitive topic of teen pregnancy as well as some raunchy scenes and dialogs makes this film for strong parental guidance, and not for very young kids.  I was hoping they could have avoided these touchy themes and made a truly general patronage film for the whole family to enjoy. Otherwise, this film is very entertaining indeed most especially for people who love APO Hiking Society music, and that should be a big chunk of the Filipino adult population out there who grew up in the 1970s to the 1990s.  It was fun to see how these beloved songs were used in the story and it was also fun to actually sing along to those all-familiar lyrics.  I think you will enjoy this movie as I did, corn and cheese included!  Congratulations to director Chris Martinez for another winner!

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