Director: A Niu
Cast: Lee Sinje, A Niu, Gary Chaw, Fish Leong, Victor Wong, Eric Moo, Yi Jet Qi, Nicholas Teo, Penny Tai
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: Clover Films & Golden Village
Official Website: -
Opening Day: 22 April 2010
ICE KACANG PUPPY LOVE is a profoundly emotional tale of puppy love, parental love, generation gap, truth and make-believe. Set in a unique small town of 1980's Malaysia, the story evolves between a nice but bashful boy- Botak and a brave and adventurous girl- Da Jia Yu.
A woman brings her daughter, Da Jia Yu, and runs away from her husband. They live in a small old town and stay at a friend's house. The son of the kopitiam tauke, Botak falls in love with this small little girl. In Botak's life, Da Jia Yu plays an important role. She accompanies Botak till they grow up. Botak secretly admires Da Jia Yu. Along the journey, he explores the meaning of true love, devotion and forgiveness.
would have guess that Ah Niu, the Malaysian Singer who gave
us the popular song "The Girl across the Street, Look
Over here" had always wanted to be a director instead
of a singer. After 'unexpectedly' achieved success as a singer,
appearing films like Summer Holiday with Richie Ren and taking
six years to write the screenplay for, he had finally achieved
his directorial debut with Ice Kacang Puppy Love.
brought along a cast of Malaysian artists that had found success
in respective medium in the Taiwan and Asian entertainment
field. There's Lee Sinje who is well known for being the Pang
Brothers' squeeze for scream queen role in The Eye and Re-cycle.
There's Victor Wong, the bespectacled singer who is probably
well known as the former one half duo of Wu Yin Liang Pin.
There's Gary Chaw, the popular Ballads singer who gave us
the soulful "Betrayal" song and Fish Leong, the
popular queen of love songs who gave us many songs to choose
It's a wise decision to cast these well known
Malaysian artists. Their star power made this film interesting
to watch and these Malaysian celebrities who had done well
overseas had a very apparent camaraderie that transmit well
onto the big screen. It helped to create a believable friendship
between them within a short time frame, allowing the script
to build on other elements of the movie.
The various character designs created for
them were also memorable highlight of this movie. Lee Sinjie
was a strong anchor as the main love interest for this movie.
Her strong performance as the tough tomboyish girl (Fighting
Fish) who got her own set of troubles made it engaging to
watch. Then there's Victor Wong strumming away as the neat
and tidy Prince Charming who wasnt' giving his best effort
to fulfill his potential. Gary Chaw hammering it up as a Malaysian
Ah Beng with a super strong Malaysian Mandarin accent that
goes high pitch at the end of every sentence. Last but not
least, Fish Leong's Barley Ping (Barley Ice), a (almost) silent
femme fatele who's constantly sucking on a ice packet drink
was easily the most likable and fun character among the supporting
those stars mention above, Ice Kacang Puppy Love was also
filled with cameo appearance by the Bruce Lee lookalike Hong
Kong artist (Danny Chan who found his breakthru in Stephen
Chow's Shaolin Soccer) and Eric Moo (who was once thought
to be a Singaporean artist). Among all the cameos, Eric Moo's
role as the father of "Fighting Fish" was particularly
memorable as the uncouth gambler who had a few words of wisdom
about letting go to the young protagonists.
Star gazing aside, Ice Kacang Puppy Love
is as you probably have guess it, a story about first love
set in the rural area of Malaysia. The central story was on
Botak (Ah Niu) mustering his guts to express his love to Fighting
Fish. To spice matters up, they are surrounded with friends
who had their own puppy love issues and are falling for each
other. Adding onto the fray, Fighting Fish had matters to
resolve with her dad and her mom was suffering from vicious
gossips attack by people around her.
a story teller, Ah Niu had succeed in creating a dreamy tale
of puppy love with music and visuals. The comic timing was
quite spot on and the stars were worth their weight in gold.
But as a first time director, there are more refinement needed
for the story telling aspect. Certain subplots and characters
could have been remove to make the story stronger. Certain
character motivation and dilemma could have been better structured
to make their case more strong and unforgettable.
Nevertheless, this is Ah Niu's baby and the
heartfelt effort he put into this project was easily felt
in many ways. It's been reported that back in the past, Ah
Niu had a crush on Lee Sinjie but was rejected. Perhaps he
used Ice Kacang Puppy Love as a closure to that bittersweet
episode of his life. With his star studded friends and entertaining
story telling, reliving his puppy love was pretty fun ordeal
to go through.
(Quirky and dreamy ... an entertaining look at first
love with nostalgic old Malaysia as backdrop)
Review by Richard Lim Jr