Janno’s family, friends support his second chance at stardom

January 25, 2023 Mario Bautista 367 views


JANNO Gibbs delivers a fine performance doing both comedy and dramatic scenes in “Hello, Universe”. The movie’s theme of second chances and being happy with what you have is reminiscent of the 1946 Hollywood Christmas fantasy drama, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

This classic inspirational film starred James Stewart as a disgruntled man who is rescued by an angel who helps him realize that he has a wonderful life. In “Hello, Universe”, Janno is Ariel, who has a generally happy life with his wife (Maui Taylor) and daughter but still feels miserable, thinking of the what ifs in his past life, notably if he pursued his dream of being a basketball player.

The angel comes as a magical jeepney driver, Benjie Paras, who has a whimsical vehicle that helps Janno to experience having an alternate life with a new wife (Sunshine Guimary) and daughter.

He is now rich and the coach of a top basketball team, but it appears he’s engaged in a nefarious activity in rigging their team’s championship match.

Just like in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, Janno eventually realizes that he is not really ecstatic over his new life and he much prefers his old life and wants to return to it. “Hello, Universe” is written and directed by actor Xian Lim. This is his first mainstream movie and it does leave a lot to be desired, specially in the writing department. But he appears a number of times doing cameo roles and he’s funny in some of them.

The acting of the major cast members somehow redeems the film’s flaws, notably Janno’s great comic chemistry with Benjie Paras as his mysterious godfather and Anjo Yllana as his best friend Rocky, who becomes the husband of his wife Maui in his alternative life.

Janno’s scenes with them are hilarious as they really click so well with each other. They all have great comic timing. Janno is very proud of the movie. Anjo shines best in the scene where he imitates the fighting styles of action stars like FPJ, Lito Lapid and even Dolphy. But when Janno mentions Robin Padilla, he quips: “A, senador na ‘yon, e.”

“Lots of folks can identify with my character kasi lahat naman tayo, may what ifs in our lives,” he says. “I think it’s very relatable for viewers of all ages kasi may comedy, may drama and Sunshine Guimary in her skimpy bikinis will surely satisfy the male viewers looking for some sexy scenes.”

Sunshine does not really do anything much in the movie and she plays a largely decorative role. Maui has a meatier role as the first wife of Janno who later becomes the wife of his best friend. The movie also benefits from the surprise guest appearances of several sportscasters and personalities, like Allan Caidic and Jerry Codinera.

At the film’s premiere night at SM Megamall, Janno’s dad, Ronaldo Valdez, and best friend, Ogie Alcasid, join the cast on stage to show their support to Janno’s movie. Everyone is asking if Xian Lim’s girlfriend, Kim Chiu, will also come to support Xian’s first main directorial effort, but she is nowhere to be seen.