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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 15, 2016

This Time Movie Review: An Escapist Fan Movie For Jadine Fans With No Pretensions

‘THIS TIME’ is an escapist fan movie with no pretensions. It’s made primarily for diehard fans of the James Reid and Nadine Lustre tandem. Those who’ve seen all their past movies as a love team like “Diary ng Panget”, “Talk Back and You’re Dead” and “Para sa Hopeless Romantic” will easily concede that this is their best and most well crafted movie yet. Their acting has also improved a lot, obviously honed by their exposure in the hit primetime soap “On the Wings of Love”.

James plays Coby and Nadine is Ava. James is an orphan boy who is raised by his grandfather, an ambassador (Freddie Webb). They are based in Australia, then the USA. He gets to spend his summers in Manila and he meets Nadine when they’re only about 10 years old. They bond over Cornetto Ice Cream (James and Nadine are their endorsers so they’re given prominent exposure here in casual plugs). Nadine is a girl whose home is a funeral parlor, which is their family’s source of livelihood.

Their relationship has no label, but Nadine is somehow hoping that one day, James will tell her he loves her. But James never gets to articulate his feelings for her and when they grew up, James had to stay put with his lolo abroad. They meet again, after sometime, when Nadine gets a scholarship as an artist in Japan and James accompanies his widowed lolo who’s looking for a long lost love, Ofelia (Nova Villa.)

There, amidst the beauty of cherry blossoms at spring time, they finally become officially on. But their long distance relationship can’t seem to run smoothly when jealousy seeps in after James sees a photo of Nadine with a classmate, Bret Jackson, who turns out to be a closeted gay. But this is quickly ironed out, including the problems of their living far from each other, and there’s really not much conflict for JaDine fans to worry about.

The title is “This Time” because the young lovers realize that they should no longer procrastinate in admitting their real feelings for each other after they see the two oldies (Freddie and Nova) trying their best to catch up for precious lost time. Freddie and Nova give excellent support to JaDine, along with Al Tantay and Candy Pangilinan as Nadine’s wacky parents and Yam Concepcion as her elder sister who all call each other as Pards.

And of course, no local film these days will be complete without having a gay character and the token gay here, aside from Bret’s closet queen, is Ronnie Lazaro as the gay owner of a corner sari-sari store when JaDine first meet when they were kids. Sadly, you know that Ronnie is just acting like he’s gay as you can easily see his efforts to be convincingly effeminate. He even has a long lost love here, played by Michael de Mesa, who’s one actor who plays gay roles more persuasively, so he should have been the one tapped to play Ronnie’s role instead.

Director Nuel Naval (“A Secret Affair”) makes sure he comes up with a bright and glossy romance without any big complicated conflicts to avoid mushy resolutions. Its primary aim is to please JaDine fans and, judging from the way their followers are shrieking and screaming during the movie’s calculated “kilig” romantic moments, Naval succeeded in coming up with a formulaic crowd pleaser. Both James and Nadine give charming performances, especially James who is the only young actor these day who has the right to be called Pretty Boy as he really comes out pretty from any angle.