"Hidden Moon" is a two-hour romantic drama that feels like two seasons of a telenovela — not because the story, set in Mexico and Los Angeles, is rich with divergent subplots and intertwining characters, but because the attention it pays to every fluttered eyelash, flared nostril and furrowed brow makes for one long haul of an affair.
Devoid of irony or humor, the kind of soapy romanticism that director José Pepe Bojórquez espouses is a tough fit for today's big screen under the best of circumstances. But when it's built on greeting-card hokum (the screenplay is by Bojórquez and David Howard) and turgid performances, the love never blooms.
The movie's Guanajuato and Veracruz locations are its strongest suit but hardly reason enough to seek out "Hidden Moon," which sneaked into theaters Friday without advance screenings for press.
At the center of the melodrama is a potentially playful twist on the soap opera convention of the Other Woman. Ana Serradilla stars as the beautiful-and-misunderstood Miranda, whose appearance at the funeral of a wealthy SoCal patriarch sends his son Victor (Wes Bentley) south of the border to find her. He tracks down the mysterious trespasser in her hometown of Guanajuato, where she's helping dreamy friend Tobias (Osvaldo de León) run her father's candle-making business (cue platitudes about "the flame").