Saturday, August 29, 2009

WHERE GOT GHOST? - Neo Spoofs Local Beliefs

Directors Neo and Boo (centre & right) at a media conference in KL after the screening on Aug 26

WHERE GOT GHOST? (comedy in Hokkien and Mandarin)
Cast: Jack Neo, Mark Lee, Henry Thia, Richard Low, Marcus Chin, John Cheng, Wang Lei, Tay Yin Yin and Tony Koh
Directors: Jack Neo and Boris Boo
Time: 106 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: Singapore's funnyman Jack Neo is back with a spoof on local beliefs of the supernatural in this three-in-one offering. This time around, he shares the directorial duties with sitcom writer Boris Boo. The three short stories, which are apparently the answers to the title's question, are: Roadside Got Ghost, Forest Got Ghost and House Got Ghost.

Despite the presence of Boo, this one is typical Jack Neo stuff - each with a moral at the end. There is also an awesome CGI-enhanced scene that helps to close the movie with a bang. I mention 'awesome' in relation to low-budget Asian standards, not Hollywood-type wizardry, of course.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The first segment, 'Roadside Got Ghost' (pic, above), deals with three swindlers who start a four-digit (4D) telephone gambling scam and charge the winners 20 per cent of their takings. Things get out of hand when they encounter competition and a vengeful spirit. 'Forest Got Ghost' is about two army reservists (John Cheng and Wang Lei) who take an illegal shortcut during jungle training - and end up in a nightmarish setting.

The third, 'House Got Ghost', is set during the lunar seventh month when hungry ghosts are supposed to roam the world of the living. Three siblings (played by 'usual suspects' Jack Neo, Mark Lee and Henry Thia) find themselves being 'visited' by their late mother's spirit and start blaming her for their financial woes. However, they learn the true meaning of ancestral blessing when they embark on a road trip and...

HITS & MISSES: Don't expect to be scared by these ghost stories. They are meant to be funny rather than scary. The first two segments appear like comedy sketches, especially Forest Got Ghost which features Tay Yin Yin as the strange woman that the hapless duo encounter in the Singapore jungle. This is where screenwriter Neo resorts to infantile gags and toilet jokes to keep the comedy going.

Richard Low and Marcus Chin stand out in the 'Roadside' segment, giving their roles a tongue-in-cheek treatment that helps to set the jovial mood for the show.

Of the three, the best is House Got Ghost (left), which is performed by Neo (left) and his regulars, Thia and Lee, in roles they are so familiar with. In fact the episode looks like an extension of last year's Money No Enough 2 in which veteran actress Lai Ming also played the mother. It is fitting that Neo and Boo end the movie with this one as the moral lesson will linger with the viewers as they leave the cinema.

THE LOWDOWN: Not one of Neo's best but still funny and watchable.


Post a Comment

<< Home