Saturday, June 16, 2007

Just Follow Law - A Jack Neo Movie

I watched this movie with my kids after having had dinner at Swenson's in February around Chinese New Year. This is a made-in-Singapore movie by Jack Neo for Singaporeans to laugh at themselves. He makes a movie in time for release every year during Chinese New Year and though he may not be known internationally we really need a great local talent like him to make us realise that when we have dreams, we should go all out to make them come true.

He pokes fun at people from all stratas of society and uses dialects so liberally that we can literally roll off our chairs (for those who understand like the older folks, moi included) and those who roll off a second later after reading the sub-titles (my kids).This time it's a movie about the civil service and all its red-tapes, endless meetings, ridiculous bureaucratic practices and civil servant bosses. The scenes were representative of the typical civil service operation magnified many times for that hilarious effect.

Especially classic was the depiction of the emails shooting around the departments, laterally and vertically till someone got 'killed' in the end. That was my favourite segment of the movie.Apart from the humour that was quite slapstick in parts, there was the typical Jack Neo moralising on filial piety, parental love and the need to make something with your life. I hope my kids were moved by these segments.

The TV magazine gave it a two star rating. I think they are just jealous of this super-talented guy who has endeared himself to us masses with his frank and brutal portrayals of how life is in Singapore, expressing what Singaporeans feel deep inside. I give him a 4 star. He missed perfection by one star because there were parts that were a little draggy.

The male and female leads were wonderful in their own ways - superb because they are already established stars in their own right. However, I really love all the supporting cast - they were really a scream, each and every one of them - the auntie cleaner/dancers, the technicians, the "cheapest-quote" pyrotechics contractor who literally set the stage on fire, the 'kia-see' (afraid to die) CEO, the suffering minister, the very pregnant supervisor whose job was to doggedly carry out orders without question, the Tamil-spewing security guard who in just a few appearances gave us much insight about what makes him tick.

Special mention goes to his boss and the two bootlickers who plotted to put a more capable colleague down so they would look good in front of the big boss.

We must also not forget the 'professional medium' and his sidekick who worked their backs off to help solve the problem in the movie and failing to achieve success offered the services of more powerful deities for additional fees.Also deserving of accolades were the actors who played an assortment of civil servants whose common key performance indicator seemed to be the rate and speed they passed enquiries from the public from one statutory board to another using very officious tones and expressions. They made great impressions even though each one had appeared for less than a minute's duration on the screen.

I particularly liked the dialect-speaking mum whom I can relate to because she is just a simple, bothersome mum whose only fault was that she loved her daughter so much. Makes me think of my mum because I am like her daughter in some ways. You have to be a mum and have much love for your kids to be able to think of your own mum and feel the love that you never felt was there before. Have I mentioned all? Yes, I think I have and they are really unforgettable performances. Kudos!When the movie ended and the lights came on, it was back to real life.

The VCD and DVD of this movie is out in the shops so get a copy so that you can watch it when you are in need of a good laugh now and then.

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