Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: Who enjoyed the APO rom-com-eoke? I-do-bidoo-bidoo-ooh!

Once in a while, a light-hearted Filipino film gets enough positive reviews and praises by word-of-mouth or through social media that my interest is piqued. One such movie is this year's I Do (Bidoo Bidoo): Heto nAPO Sila. It's romance. It's comedy. It's signature Pinoy song-and-dance spectacular all rolled into one. At the core of the movie are the music of one of the Philippines' most prolific musical acts, the APO Hiking Society. Actually, the group's songs proved to be the force driving the plot along. 

Young love? There's an APO song for that. Rekindling fading marriages? There's an APO song for that too. Illustrating how love keeps a family together during challenging times? There's an APO song for that as well. Problems in school and at home? There are at least two or three APO songs for that. And I'm just talking about the soundtrack of the movie. APO Hiking Society has a whole lot more songs not covered in the film.

The wonderful thing about this rom-com is that the director and scriptwriter, Chris Martinez, did not resort to slapstick to garner the laughs or to loud crying and wailing to tug at the audience's heartstrings. Thanks to the timelessness of the APO hits and the universal themes of the group's songs, the audience (regardless of age) in the theater I watched at erupted in laughter or clapped as they see themselves in the characters excellently portrayed by main cast Ogie Alcasid, Eugene Domingo, Gary Valenciano, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Sam Concepcion, and Tippy dos Santos. The supporting cast members were hilarious too! Jaime Fabregas, in his one-dimensional character, was my favorite among the supporting actors.

Did I like the movie? I-do-bidoo-bidoo-ooh! I definitely want to see it a second time and then buy the DVD to watch it more times at home. It's not perfect, but it's worth to watch several times. No wonder it got the highest rating from the MTRCB. I even enjoyed it a lot more than the movie version of "Mamma Mia!", but that's probably because the plot is much closer to home. I wish "I Do (Bidoo Bidoo)" gets its day on the musical stage... or a sequel is produced... or it gets a cinematic encore on Valentine's Day.

On a side note...

A few hours after watching "I Do (Bidoo Bidoo)", one of my favorite APO songs still keeps playing in my head. It's entitled "Panalangin" (Prayer). This "last song syndrome" is particularly hard to get over with because I like the lyrics and I like the catchy tune, particularly the percussions in the reworked version used in the movie. What a classic.

Panalangin ko sa habang buhay
Makapiling ka, makasama ka
Yan ang panalangin ko
At di papayag ang pusong ito
Mawala ka sa 'king piling
Mahal ko iyong dinggin

-- APO Hiking Society (1980)

Oh, and have I mentioned that Mr Jim Paredes, one-third of the APO Hiking Society, had shared a story about how one of the group's performances of "Panalangin" had saved a marriage? This song is that powerful. I heard him share this anecdote one Maundy Thursday when I participated in a focused group discussion on Mr Paredes' solo album LARO.