Rating: 2 stars out of 5
The Buzz: Directed by Kat Goh, who won a Best Director award for her film “Swimming Lessons” at the Singapore International Film Festival.
The Stars: Adrian Pang, Kym Ng, Lay Meng
The Story: A baby appears on the doorstep of a household where mother Loong (Lai Ming) desires to have a child born in the year of the dragon.
insing.com thinks: Produced by Kelvin Tong, this feel-good Chinese New Year movie from Raintree attempts to cash in on the incoming Dragon year by offering dated laughs and too-cutesy moments.
The matriarch of a lion dance troupe, 84-year-old Mother Loong is desperate for a grandson to be born in the year of the Dragon, and a baby arrives in the house, a stowaway in a basket of longan.
Her daughters fool her into thinking that the baby is from her son, resulting in not-too-hilarious results and envy from relatives.
Director Goh does make the role of elderly grandmother Lai Ming poignant, but her role is too single-minded. Considering her capable directing in her award-winning short film “Swimming Lessons”, there’s little of that skill on show here.
She’s not the only person to blame. The story, co-written by Kelvin Tong, is rife with coincidences and filled with stock characters and predictable outcomes.
Besides Lai Ming, who does make Mother Loong endearing, the acting here is, like New Year goodies, a mixed bag. Pang, one of the most charismatic local talents and the film’s bright spots, does a great job as a gambling addicted chef who insists on cooking western dishes.
Kym Ng is passable as an androgynous gambling counsellor who inexplicably allows Pang to stay over at the house over the CNY period. But the most annoying character must be Dennis Chew’s Auntie Lucy, whose constant head-rolling motion makes you wish her head would just roll off.
The film fulfils the expectations of Chinese New Year films, with happy endings for all except a pair of greedy, conniving relatives.
With its predictable story, hammy acting, and choppy edits, this is one film that you should not waste your hongbao money on.