Kathleen A. Llemit – Philstar.com

February 23, 2022 | 11:45am

MANILA, Philippines — Thai stars Mario Maurer and Baifern Pimchanok reunite in the movie “AI Love You,” which indulges the love team’s fans in a plot attempting to give a glimpse of an artificially intelligent (AI)-powered society. 

“AI Love You” tells the story of an advanced AI named Dob, who develops feelings for advertising employee Lana (Baifern). Opportunity arises for Dob to enact his “feelings” for Lana in the person of egoistic tech chief Bob (Mario) when a system glitch occurs. 

The movie banks on the clamor of the fans who anticipate Mario and Baifern’s reunion. It will be the primary reason for fans, most especially Filipinos who fell in love with their characters Nam and Shone in the 2011 hit coming-of-age romance film “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” 

The reunion movie presents their more grown-up versions, although it does not look like they aged since over a decade ago. Mario and Baifern are still babyfaced as they were in 2010. What changed is the more mature nuances of the two actors. Romance in this movie is intrinsic and is complicated by the social backdrop, that is, a future powered by AI and robotics. 

Bangkok in this film presents a robotic skyline with its skyscrapers reminiscent of giant robots with whirring, kinetic parts extending out of it. AI is intrusive as every home is equipped with it, with functions that include the “emotion” feature and “personality” protocol option, allowing home owners to talk to the AI like a friend. It is the same in the workplace and leisure circuit as every building/establishment is installed with AI. 

It is where the conflict ensues by asking where AI is headed to at this point of its evolution. After taking over mundane, everyday skills from humans, will AI evolve into “developing” its own feelings? If it does evolve into a sentient being, how far will it go to live a life with all faculties intact and functioning?

Much of this futuristic love story is due to the movie’s co-writer and co-director Stephan Zlotescu. Those who have watched his 2012 cyberpunk short film “True Skin” can easily identify the elements in that movie present in “AI Love You.” 

Zlotescu not only serves as co-writer and co-director, but he is also credited as visual effects artist and art director. In an interview with Bangkok Post in 2017, Zlotescu shared that he prefers science-fiction as genre because it turns on his imagination. 

“True Skin” had been optioned by Amazon for a one-hour series. There is no update regarding this planned series adaptation of Zlotescu’s short film since news of it broke out in 2016. 

“AI Love You” is among the top 10 most streamed movies on Netflix Philippines on the week of its debut. Released a day after Valentine’s Day on February 15, the movie reunites Mario and Baifern after their cult favorite 2010 film, which first made them famous outside of their native Thailand.  

RELATED: Mario Maurer, Baifern Pimchanok recreate ‘Crazy Thing Called Love’ scene

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