Just when you thought we're safe from the influx of those B-movie girlie erotica that used to thrive in 2nd rate cinemas in the late 80's and 90's, we were surprised to find director Mike Angelo Salvador's (posters use a shorter name: Nico Salvador) "Mahilig" at a major cinema!
The movie is made up of 2 incongruent stories weaved into one. The first is that of Thea Alvarez's ("Libido") character who's the sex nymphet who couldn't shake drugs off her system, thus when her hard working, albeit sex-starved husband (Mon Lacsamana) finds out that old habits indeed die hard, he leaves her. This sends Thea deeper into the quagmire of her addiction. The second narrative strain is that of Carlo Aquino's character; an impressionable high school student who comes from an ordinary, but loving family. His father's a good natured postman (Dante Rivero) while mother (Daria Ramirez) is a typical homemaker. Enter Nico (Onemig Bondoc) who would lure saintly Nico to the realm of vices: from smoking, to alcohol, then drugs. The latter would eventually tie down these 2 disparate stories together.
There really isn't much to critique in Salvador's work as there's not a hint of brilliance on show here. Much of the performance is obsequious to what is required from the character sketches on view. And it is a little bewildering how this film is able to get the services of actors like Carlo Aquino, Dante Rivero and Daria Ramirez. You can probably surmise "desperation" - or a good payday, but then again, it can be how the story was pitched prior to production: "It's a cautionary tale about how drugs can consume a person (Thea Alvarez) and destroy families (Carlo Aquino)." Looks good on paper, doesn't it?
An adequate film making skill is needed for this! But whatever little talent is shown here turns into nothing but vacuous craftsmanship. Even the intentions are suspect at best. In fact, the first scenes involving Thea Alvarez (with her protruding belly, she would take a full-frontal 3 minute shower) would already clue you in! I somehow felt I was in the wrong theater! I pinched myself; maybe I was in some dingy Quiapo cinema watching reruns of films starring Aya Medel, Sabrina M, Vida Verde or Lala Montelibano. Alvarez's confrontation with Mon Lacsamana happens right after they had a sweaty roll in the hay! How convenient, right?
What's almost ridiculous to bear is the resolute cameos of Gen. Rodolfo Caisip and Asec Rommel Garcia (PDEA deputy director and Dangerous Drugs Board honcho, respectively). It's one thing to advocate anti-drug sentiments, but when you're endorsing it within a salacious softcore film, any assumptions of good intent is lost!