Hello Babies 2014: A Chinese-Hong Kong Comedy From Vincent Kok
Two Malaysian Chinese from same village always brawl in a tit for tat situation. Now they are competing in who is the first to get a grandson.
It has been sort of like a custom for me to catch Hong Kong movies every Chinese New Year to sort of bring in the mood. I think it all started with “All’s Well, Ends Well” franchise since 1992. And it has something that I will do together with my friends whenever we have the chance. This year itself was no different. And although the All’s Well, Ends Well franchise has sort of been discontinued, me and 28 of my other church friends managed to catch Hello Babies (Xin Chao Baby). A movie that spins off from the All’s Well, Ends Well (AWEW) franchise.
The movie itself borrows a lot of reference from the previous AWEW movies. In addition to retaining some of the old actors and actresses from the previous movies. So those who have watched the previous movies before will feel a sense of familiarity while watching this new 2014 version. However, rather than the importance of family and finding love theme. The movie injects a new theme into the movie, which is the question of having a baby and love after marriage.
Like its predecessors, the movie has a lot of funny moments and jokes that would keep you laughing in your seat (after all many of its actors are seasoned comedians). And the movie manages to carry itself solidly until three quarters of the movie. It deals with the question of having a baby eloquently and in a light hearted manner. And I think it’s a situation that many young couples could relate to.
The choice between the burden of responsibility and the joy of having a baby was portrayed nicely in Hello Babies, without overdoing it. And I personally felt the struggle that the young couple has to go through. There was a scene where the stubborn couple manages to catch a glimpse of an ultrasound of their baby. And although they already said that they don’t want to have a baby. You can see how much joy it brings to them.
Singapore’s Social Development Unit should so consider using this movie as a main publicity video to boost the birth rate of the country.
Other than that, the movie also tackles the sub theme of love after marriage elegantly. And the scene where the husband mentioned about all the promises he made before marriage. And how he took it for granted after marriage was in fact my favorite scene in the entire movie. It was a touching scene to watch, and it serves as a reminder to never take things for granted and to always keep the flame burning in a relationship, which I felt was incredibly lacking in our society today.
However, while I felt that the first half performance of the film was light hearted and enjoyable without sacrificing too much on the deep part. Somehow I felt that the second half of the movie kinda took a wrong direction. And the entire movie ended up not achieving its full potential.
I felt that if the movie had chosen to explore deeper on the themes portrayed in the movie. It would have ended up being a thought provoking and perhaps a better movie than its predecessors. But somehow it chose to play safe and fell back to the old tactics of lame jokes and funny pranks. It felt as if the movie was rushed in the end to meet the Chinese New Year deadline. And somehow it didn’t really take off.
But the Hello Babies (phim thuyet minh) is still an enjoyable movie to watch as a light hearted entertainment. Together with a loved one of course. And together with the backdrop of the hilly scenery of Ipoh (yes part of the movie was shot in Ipoh). And some Malaysia references (the Datuk for example). It is a movie worth watching. I have yet to watch the other CNY movies for this year though. But for this I will give it a 6/10.
Director: Vincent Kok
Writers: Anselm Chan, Wai Kei Cheng (as K Cheng)
Stars: Raymond Pak-Ming Wong, Eric Tsang, Sandra Kwan Yue Ng