Monday, February 13, 2006
I Not Stupid 2 - 68%
What is a Jack Neo's movie? One with very expectable results, plot, cliches, beginning and ending. Watching a JAck Neo's movie is akin to listening to your mother or father or Auntie that you've met during Chinese New Year, talk about their lives, and little bitsy ongoing in their lives and views about the world (or Singapore for that matter). Just like relatives whom you meet once a year or so at major family gatherings, it is all joyous and good, but it can get a little annoying if you have too much of the same thing. We've seen a few Jack Neo-ish productions (I Do I Do, 3 Good men etc) and they all smell the same. This one is no different. One thing I have realised about Jack Neo's movie, they all are written like all the parts are the same person. Like Jonathan Lee's songs which are sung by other singers, you can still imagine the song being sung by Jonathan Lee. But unlike song's which can be interpreted by different singers in different manner, Jack Neo's movie walks, talks and sounds the same from one movie to another and even the character talks the same. You can imagine Jack Neo talking through every characters' lips, and once you noticed that, it can get a little annoying.
The first Jack Neo's movie "Money not enough" was the first of its kind. In its own way, it broke the mould and created a movie that was one of its kind then. Though production value was not high, it still charmed alot of people. Why? Because it was one of a kind. There was never anything like that, and the story was original. His following works improved on production quality, but storylines only took marginal improvements, or none at all (Liang Po Po?). So it all goes back to the basics of filmmaking - everything must start with a good and strong story. No amount of technical expertise or special effects can make a bad story good.
I watched I Not Stupid 2 on the same day I watched another movie that was so contrasty with this one - Daremo Shiranai (Nobody Knows). I Not Stupid 2 has much higher production quality, some special effects, good sound engineering, proper lighting, and a formulaic storyline. Daremo Shiranai had mediocre production quality, marginal sound, no special effects and uses lots of natural lighting. But "Nobody Knows" has a great story.
I Not Stupid 2 is not a continuation of the part 1, and it focuses on teenage school children issues and the communication problems between 2 generations. Everything is dumbed down, simplified and direct in your face. Watching the movie is akin to having Jack Neo in front of you spewing out the same issues in his exact words rather than using a story to carry the message. The dialogue is the message and they are so in your face, you'd wonder why he even created a story around it to be delivered. And there are so many things in the film that was delivered but not resolved, and it makes you wonder was it placed in there just for laughs? Or instance, the subplot about the youngest son thinking that kissing would lead to pregnancy does nothing to move the story, nor improve your understanding of the character, it makes you wonder if it was placed there because it was relevant, or just because they thought this was a nice premise to place in the film and just forced it in there. It felt as if they stole a good idea like that and just plugged it in, and without knowing what to do with it, and left it unresolved.
The movie is good if you like Jack Neo's style of movie and want more of the same. If you've never seen a Jack Neo's movie, watch "I Not Stupid" (Part 1) and leave it as that. If you've seen most of his movies, and wonder if you should rent this or pay the ticket to watch it, I'd sugggest doing none of the above and wait for some sucker to buy/rent the VCD or DVD and then borrow it from them. At least you have the option to turn it off halfway, or feel good that at least it was a good rental at best.