Director: Boris Boo
Cast: Christopher Lee, Mark Lee, Ann Kok, Kym Ng, Guo Liang, Richard Low, Irene Ang, Jimmy Taenaka, Hayley Woo, Liu Ling Ling, Aaron Tan, Zheng Yin Yin, Mindee Ong
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Sexual References & Coarse Language)
Released By: GV & Clover Films
Opening Day: 8 May 2014
Synopsis: FILIAL PARTY revolves around a reality TV game show titled “FILIAL PARTY” which takes the nation by storm with its $1-million prize money pledged for the winner who portrays exceptional filial piety on TV. Mark Lee plays the host/producer of the TV game show; Christopher Lee, Ann Kok and Hayley Woo are the three finalists vying for the coveted cash prize.
Filial Party is released just in time for this Mothers’ Day weekend! The movie title is an obvious wordplay of 'filial piety', so it's also no surprise that the movie is on the topic of filial piety. The backdrop of the movie is a reality television program, where the participants vie for the prize money of 1 million dollars with their measure of filial piety by performing certain tasks and missions. As you may have already expected, how can one really measure filial piety?
The main story focuses on three participants and their parent(s) - namely a lawyer played by Ann Kok, a security officer played by Christopher Lee and a spoilt brat played by Hayley Woo. Expectedly, each of them has their own set of agenda, apart from showing filial piety, which they wish to accomplish through the program; for fame, money and popularity. The premise of this movie was already one that is slightly more solemn and not fun to begin with. Moreover, maintaining and balancing these three storylines is not that all easy. In the end, the plot lacked focus and not one character's story was done to perfection.
On its comedic and entertainment value, the movie managed to only pull off an average. The poking fun at the media industry, the illustration of the STOMP culture in Singapore and pervasive use of social media is but an exaggeration. Cameo appearance of the director (Boris Boo) himself as a stunt truck driver carrying Eric Tsang's accent merely tickled. Although the movie is probably intended to be lighthearted and entertaining, the mood of the movie often fluctuated, hence giving rather mixed meanings and confuses the viewers.
Also, the characterization and character development are not that strong. You do see that spark of hope in the lineup of local celebrities in the cast. But unfortunately, there was no remarkable or noteworthy performance from anyone of them. And probably to be fair, there was not much room for development. Certain tensions were built up to test the characters’ personalities but they were all to brief to bring about a depth in the story. The progress of the movie felt sluggish and even the plot twist was not very impactful.
Overall, the mish-mash and the ambitious goal of incorporating all the trendy elements into one movie is possibly not the best idea. Though the movie ended on a positive note, it was rather moral loaded and too prescriptive. Well but at the very least, Filial Party was a good enough and sincere local production.
(A uniquely Singapore production with a sincere message at heart)
Review by Tho Shu Ling