Film Notes
by Pablo A. Tariman

If you have covered showbiz for over thirty years, you realize you have to deal with films that edify and films that are the opposite.

Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza in Lake Como. The movie is beautifully shot with some semblance of acting in the AlDub team.

Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza in Lake Como. The movie is beautifully shot with some semblance of acting in the AlDub team.

You cheer the good films and you feel the letdown when they are not patronized by the so-called masa now called the mainstream audience.

Indeed, some movies are made to entertain one wide and encompassing sector you can’t find in the concert hall.

Indeed, some movies are tailor-made to suit popular love teams and some movies dare risk but with certain consequences for the producer.

Some producers fast-track to take advantage of the immense popularity. As a result, they please the fans but drive away the curious who leave the theater feeling they have been taken for a ridiculous ride, so to speak.

One doesn’t belong to that school where they apply intellectual yardstick for movies that will never be everything but intellectual.

But watching Mike Tuviera’s “Imagine You and Me” featuring the phenomenal AlDub team is — in some measure — a fairly pleasant surprise. It adds to one’s education of the movie audiences as they evolved through the years.

Indeed, it is not easy figuring out in a premiere night where you have to literally “part the sea” to get to the entrance of the theater teeming with screaming fans of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza.

Scene from premiere night: mass adoration at its hair-raising point.

Scene from premiere night: mass adoration at its hair-raising point.

The way to the theater is a big sideshow by itself. From the ground floor to the third floor of SM Megamall are thousands of fans cheering the love team.

Why they have that phenomenal following only after a few weeks of noon-time “kalye-serye” (street soap opera) is beyond me but that is something for cineastes to look into in another film study on the evolution of film audiences.

The first few seconds of the film is already a revelation with ordinary people falling for each other at first sight in the MRT station and in highway toll gates. It is a subtle introduction before the main pair is shown going to the airport on their way to Italy.

It is another variation on love and fate and destiny all right but the narrative flow proves pleasing even for those who can only be curious about the AlDub team.

But to add to one’s surprise, the setting is that village popularized by Lake Como where famous opera composers like Verdi and Puccini took some time out finishing or re-writing their opera opus. The love team even got to Verona where some “kilig” scenes where shot in the statue of Juliet (from the Romeo and Juliet literary fame)

On the whole, Direk Tuviera made something highly sensible and substantial out of the popular love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza in the new starrer of the popular love team.

Beautifully shot with the legendary Lake Como in Italy as romantic background, the movie is highly appealing with the thoroughly fleshed out character of Andrew (Richards) who rediscovers love in the person of a whacky character named Gara (Mendoza) who is everything he is not.

As it is, Richards stands out as the broken-hearted Andrew whose transition — from being down and depressed to one finally able to move on – allows one to see a bit of the actor in him. It is a big relief from his perpetually smiling profile (dimples and all).

Mendoza was a fairly spontaneous, if, lovable Gara. But at some point, Mendoza looked more like an accidental tourist than a Filipino OFW. She probably had to look like a tourist or else the producer will suffer the brunt of the fans.

The acting ensemble of Cacai Bautista and Cai Cortez keeps the audiences in stitches while the appearance of Irma Adlawan as Andrew’s stepmother gives the moviegoers a brand of acting that is at once marked and profound.

The movie has everything AlDub fans will like but one takes one’s hat off to Director Tuviera for imbuing the love team with much sense and sensibility with new characters that are more believable than their previous film outing.

Director Mike Tuviera with cast of "Imagine You and Me."

Director Mike Tuviera with cast of “Imagine You and Me.”

Lake Como is identified as the hideaway of eminent Italian opera composers like Puccini and Verdi.

(By coincidence, Verdi finished much of his famous opera, La Traviata, in Lake Como. The opera’s heroine, Violetta, dies in the end and so did Clarissa (Jasmine Curtis-Smith) in the Tuviera film.)

By and large, it is a relief to see some semblance of good acting in the country’s most popular love team. Tuviera toned down a lot of acting clichés and the film ends with such magic that even non-AlDub fans can identify with.

“Imagine You and Me” is now showing in more than 200 theaters nationwide.

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