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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.

Mar 10, 2013

One Moment in Time Movie Review: Julia and Coco Deserve a Better Movie

WE WERE so impressed by Manny Palo’s debut film last year, the Cinemalaya indie entry “Sta. Nina”, so watching him bungle his first mainstream movie in Star Cinema’s “A Moment in Time” is painful for us.

This starts as the usual rom-com, with a “cute-meet” scene at the film’s start. Patrick (Coco Martin) sees Jillian (Julia Montes) by chance inside a commuter train and immediately gets infatuated with her. He searches for her and, since he’s a painter (who also works as a waiter and delivery boy for a chicken resto), he paints her portrait on the walls of public places (without him being accosted by anyone for vandalism.) At this point, Coco is shown to be a jolly, free spirited young man, doing goofy things, forever smiling like an idiot and shouting “Baby, Baby” each time he sees Julia in public. He energetically chases her car several blocks down the road and even pretends to have been run over just to get her attention. Like a stalker, he goes to Julia’s school and serenades her in the street while other students surround them.

All these efforts are meant to be “kilig” scenes, just like what John Lloyd Cruz does in his past films, but, sorry, Coco wasn’t really able to carry them well the way JL did with aplomb. He just looks silly and ludicrous. He’s a poor boy, she’s a rich girl, but with all his relentless wooing, she falls for him and they share some good moments together, until Coco learns that Julia is the driver of the hit and run car that killed his mom (Zsa Zsa Padilla) years before.
It’s understandable for Coco to get mad at Julia, who didn’t know her victim was killed as her very wealthy parents (Gabby Concepcion and Cherie Gil) took care of everything without informing her about what really happened. But he suddenly softens us and they’re sweet again, and then for no reason at all, he suddenly changes his mood, gets all sullen and becomes very mean to Julia who even humbles herself asking for forgiveness. The jolly, bubbly Coco makes a 360 degree turn in his personality and has become so “galit sa mundo”.
From being a rom-com, the movie turns into serious drama. Spurned and humiliated, Julia, a violinist, goes to Amsterdam to study music. Then Coco changes his mind again and suddenly chooses to search for her in Amsterdam, doing menial jobs until he chances upon Julia again. By this time, we have lost all our interest in the film and any remaining sympathy that we have for its stupid characters.

It’s Julia’s chance to play hard to get this time, particularly when it’s revealed that she’s engaged to be married to Joseph Marco (in such a thankless role with three brief sequences). Just as when we’re saying Coco just got what he surely deserves for his boorishness, Julia changes her mind again suddenly (there are so many sudden things in this movie) and they’re reconciled for the forced and obligatory happy ending while making “pasyal-pasyal” around Amsterdam and Paris (thanks to their promo tours there for TFC.) The end.

After their successful team up in “Walang Hanggan”, Coco and Julia certainly deserve a better first outing on the big screen than this crummy movie that humiliates them both. Coco’s character seems to be bipolar or have a split personality and he’s not that well equipped to supply the elements that his role lacks. Even more pathetic is Julia for her equally badly written role that leaves her nothing to work on. Although Coco is considered the hottest actor on TV now because of the success of “Walang Hanggan” and “Juan de la Cruz”, we’re afraid he has yet to come up with a real hit like JLC on the big screen. In contrast, though, JLC’s films are all blockbusters but we all know what happened to his last soap, “Beautiful Affair”, that was quickly terminated due to lackluster ratings. Well, we guess you can’t just have it all.