I Do Bidoo Bidoo brings the jukebox musical to Filipino cinema, building a story inspired by the music of the Apo Hiking Society. One can’t really ask for better inspiration than that, and thankfully, the film doesn’t squander it. The movie is often able to harness the grace and heart of the music, crafting surprisingly powerful sequences from the words. Spotty production mars the effect, but for the most part, I Do Bidoo Bidoo has a lot going for it.
Rock (Sam Concepcion) gets his girlfriend Tracy (Tippy Dos Santos) pregnant. The young couple suddenly has to face the prospect of getting married. Plans are made, but it all falls apart when their families meet. Rock’s working class parents (Ogie Alcasid and Eugene Domingo) take offense when Tracy’s grandfather (Jaime Fabregas) objects to their union. Meanwhile, Tracy’s parents (Gary Valenciano and Zsa Zsa Padilla) are struggling to sustain their own marriage. Rock and Tracy are kept apart from each other, and are made to confront the possibility of being apart for the rest of their lives.
The movie manages to build a fairly credible story out of the songs. The narrative gets a little loose at times, but by and large it manages to find the heart of these songs and build something clever out of it. Its cleverest conceit lies in how it veers away from the story of young love, and uses it as a jumping off point to explore a couple of marriages that didn’t work out the way that its participants thought it would. It gives the film surprising weight, and allows it to connect to the music in a much deeper way than one would expect. In the movie’s most affecting moments, nostalgia morphs into regret, old songs standing in for a past that the characters can no longer regain.
It doesn’t always work, however. Some of the songs are an odd fit at best, and only serve to stretch out the movie. Production values are also surprisingly spotty. The cinematography in particular is an issue. The actors are often underlit. It’s a strange choice that does a real disservice to the performances. There are bits of the movie that are out of focus, and entire scenes that look like they were shot with a cellphone. As a whole, the film is just visually underwhelming. To be fair, there’s a lot of interesting production design in the picture. But the camerawork is generally uninspiring, the same two or three movements played out over and over.
An endearing cast anchors the movie. Sam Concepcion and Tippy Dos Santos are best when they’re singing, the music giving them access to a deeper well of expression. The film’s strongest assets are Eugene Domingo and Ogie Alcasid. Domingo in particular delivers a stellar turn. She seems to really inhabit her character, her face exhibiting an entire life’s worth of disappointment in every moment. With Alcasid, she’s able to build a history that goes far beyond what’s written. Zsa Zsa Padilla and Gary Valenciano aren’t able to develop that kind of history, but they perform well enough individually.
Putting aside the film’s technical hiccups, I Do Bidoo Bidoo is thoroughly lovely. Not all of its bits work, but in the end, the movie is able to build a strong connection to the music, delivering a story with surprising punch. But one can’t simply brush aside the flaws of the production. Given the scale of the project, it’s a little difficult to accept such lackluster visuals. On the whole, however, I Do Bidoo Bidoo manages to delight much more than it disappoints. It sings heartily, offering audiences a sense of joy and fun often missing from our cinema.