I NOT STUPID 3 (�孩不笨3) (2024)

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Director: Jack Neo
Cast: Hu Jing, Jae Liew, Camans Kong, Goh Wee-Ann, Zhou Yu Chen, Joseph Ng, Glenn Yong, Terence Cao, Collin Chee, Selena Tan, Xixi Lim, Patricia Mok
Runtime: 2 hrs 12 mins
Rating: PG (Some Disturbing Scenes)
Released By: mm2 Entertainment, Clover Films, Golden Village Pictures
Official Website:

Opening Day: 6 June 2024

Synopsis: Zi Hao, a Chinese Primary 6 student in Singapore, faces academic pressure when his classmate Jayden frames him for cheating to maintain his top-ranking status. Meanwhile, Zi Hao's mother, Wen Ting, is falsely accused of illegal work by Jayden's competitive mother, Sophia. Amidst the turmoil, the two mothers realise the toll on their sons and unite to prioritise their well-being over grades, fostering reconciliation.

Movie Review:

Didn’t we just watch Jack Neo’s Money No Enough 3 in the cinema back in February? Probably Singapore’s most commercially successful director, Neo is perhaps the nation’s most hardworking filmmaker as well. Four months after the release of the third movie in the Money No Enough franchise, he is back to earn big bucks at the box office.

It has been more than two decades since we laughed and cried with I Not Stupid (2002), and 18 years after the second instalment – can Neo still deliver messages that are relevant to today’s education system?

This time, we see two Primary Six boys (and their mothers) battle for the top spot in class. And boy, things turn really ugly.

Zi Hao (Zhou Yu Chen) left his Shanghai home to study in Singapore, and he is accompanied by his mother Wen Ting (Hu Jing). She gave up her accountant job in China to focus on her son’s studies, with the one hope that he will excel academically. Yup, she is what we affectionately know as. “peidu mama” - if you have kids (or friends who have kids), you would be familiar with these “study moms” from China. She makes Zi Hao memorise the dictionary and a “Hally Peter” novel, although it is clear that the poor boy has dyslexia.

On the opposing side of this stressful competition is Jayden (Camans Kong), a bright student who has been effortlessly acing his tests and exams. When Zi Hao’s results improve by leaps and bounds, Jayden’s mother Sophia (Jae Liew) becomes a truly frightening tiger mum to make sure her son remains number one in class. She canes and verbally abuses the poor boy. As things get out of hand, she throws up a fit and home and in school, even resorting to some dirty tricks with the supposed noble intention to ensure a bright future for her son. Her antics are despicably frightening – kudos to Liew’s performance that leaves a impression.

Viewers accustomed with Neo’s works would recognise his all too familiar approach. The 132 minute movie attempts to explore more themes than it ideally should. Are elite schools better than neighbourhood schools? Are children with a less than glamourous backgrounds not meant for big things in life? How can students in this AI powered society leverage ChatGPT for their assignments? Many of these touch and go topics, and you wish the movie devoted more time to explore how the new teacher’s (Glenn Yong) broadminded education approach goes down with the older generation of teachers and parents. And as much as you know that a character is going to get into an accident, you still shed a few tears during the hospital scenes.

Neo, who probably is counting on the fact that nostalgia sells, assembled an ensemble cast featuring actors like Selena Tan, Richard Low, Patricia Mok and Cheryl Desiree Chan from the original movie. Together with other known names like Collin Chee, Terence Cao and Xixi Lim, there is something for everyone in the audience. You can count on the director behind other money making franchises like Ah Boys to Men and The Diam Diam Era to know how to draw the crowd into cinemas.

And you won’t be watching a Jack Neo movie if you aren’t spotting the product placements. The ones that stand out in this movie are the F&B sponsors, ranging from mookata and bak kut teh to fish ball noodles and bread. In fact, this viewer is so intrigued by a very yummy looking burger being chomped down by one of the characters, he went to check out the bakery after the show.

Movie Rating:

(While shedding light on what we already know - that children and parents are facing immense stress in Singapore's demanding education system - this movie delivers comedy, drama and tearjerking moments in a signaure Jack Neo style that audiences are familiar with)

Review by John Li 


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