Somewhere within the overlong fan valentine “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” is a fascinating story trying to get out.
That story belongs to Arnel Pineda, a Filipino rock singer who became the new lead singer of the rock band Journey when the band’s founding guitarist, Neal Schon, saw his performances on YouTube. There’s a deeper story, of Pineda’s hard life as a homeless teen (coincidentally, when Journey was at its commercial peak), of his 25 years of striving in Asian nightclubs, of his battles with substance abuse and infidelity, and of how Pineda’s success has been embraced by Filipinos everywhere.
Unfortunately, director Ramona S. Diaz scatters the pieces of Pineda’s life story haphazardly through this film, bouncing back to endless backstage footage of Journey’s 2008 tour — and platitudes from Schon and bandmates that Pineda has the vocal chops to fill the role of Journey’s legendary frontman Steve Perry.
Pineda emerges as a charismatic performer and a nice guy, but only a diehard Journey fan will be interested in slogging through this film to learn that.
‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’
Opens today at the Tower Theatre; not rated, but probably PG-13 for language and drug content; in English and Tagalog, with subtitles; 105 minutes.