BoobTube Critic

By Arnel Ramos

Sadly, Louise delos Reyes is neither a Gloria nor a Marya. She tried but one can only try so hard.

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Are we supposed to rejoice over GMA-7’s Magkaibang Mundo which apparently thinks that we have not grown as viewers from the time when Sampaguita Pictures would beguile us with fantastical stories of flying “bilaos” and the dark-skinned Cofradia, or Luciano Carlos’ Inday Bote tickled our funny bones, which is actually the late veteran comedy megman’s take on Brothers Grimm’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?

But then, Cofradia was blessed with the gorgeous Gloria Romero. They really had faces then. And Inday Bote was played by the versatile Maricel Soriano. And both actresses and movie queens somehow made the fantasies palatable. You readily agreed to suspend your disbelief.

Delos Reyes as Princess doesn’t register a charisma that would have spelled the difference. It would have made us cheer for her and wish that she would end up with the elf who falls for her (Elfino played by newcomer Juancho Trivino).

It also doesn’t help that Louise’s dwarf-to-the-rescue is a newbie whose most interesting scenes were when he goes bare-naked whenever he crosses from elfdom to mortal world. But honey, you don’t exactly create a character out of appearing with bare torso, do you?

MagkaibangMundo also makes you wonder whatever happened to the great Gina Alajar. In Moral, she was genuinely funny and yet sympathetic as the trying hard singer with big dreams and meager skills. In the little-known Bukas, May Pangarap(1984), your heart would go out to her as the wife who commits suicide due to poverty. In her Urian-winning performance as the femme fatale in Salome, she was “nakakainis.” What has happened to versatility? Has it flown out the window the moment the actress decided to dye her mane platinum blonde?

Magkaibigang Mundo piloted May 23 and at the rate things are going, there is nothing new and refreshing about it. There is very little chemistry between the two leads and the only thing arresting from what we have seen is a supporting turn from the always-good Angeli Bayani as a fellow inmate of Louise’s mom in the series played by Assunta De Rossi.

For a mismatch romantic drama to work, there should be magic sprinkled with a bit of sparkling humor and light-hearted drama. Wasn’t that the formula that proves that Chaning Carlos was a genius? In Inday Bote, he adeptly interspersed the shenanigans of Marciel Soriano as Inday Bote with laugh-out-loud comedy, a showstopping rendition of the Gloria Gaynor gay anthem “I Am What I Am” and a quietly heartrending moment towards the end when Marya’s character taunts William’s playboy character’s inability to cry. “Sabi ko na nga ba hanggang salita ka lang. Hindi mo kayang umiyak,” blabbers Marya and then she stops short when she realizes that William has quietly shed  a tear.

It will do good for the creative people behind Magkaibang Mundo to watch Inday Bote over and over again to learn something new or rather a new way of doing it from an old classic.

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