| In Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles
Director: Adrian Teh
Cast: Loke Beng Chew, Wong Kok Keong (KK), Henry Thia, Mindee Ong, Benjamin Heng, Alaric Tay
RunTime: 1 hr 33 mins
Released By: Clover Films & Cathay-Keris Films
Day: 13 January 2011
In the movie, KK and Ah Luke play a pair of famous and popular radio deejays. However, they have bad attitudes and huge egos and are eventually fired from their jobs. They end up being shunned by all the other major radio stations. Out-of-job and down-and-out for several months, they decide to attend a public audition for radio deejays at a newly-established radio station. KK and Ah Luke are surprised to see many old ladies applying for the job - it turns out that the radio station is scouting two “Ah Po” (old lady) deejays for a new show. On impulse, KK and Ah Luke disguise themselves as old ladies and eventually get the job. Their popularity as the “Po Po” deejays rises more quickly than anyone would expect, and that is when things turn disastrous yet hilarious, beyond what anyone could have imagined!
No, you’re not seeing double, that’s Henry Thia once again on this poster of this Malaysia-Singapore co-production. Wait, wasn’t he just in his pal Mark Lee’s “The Ghosts Must Be Crazy”? That’s right, and he’ll be appearing in Kelvin Tong’s “It’s A Great Great World” coming in just about two weeks. If anything, Henry deserves credit for being one of the most hardworking local movie stars- whether that’s a good thing however is debatable.
In “Lelio Popo”, Henry once again plays the owner of an old folks’ home- though to far less disastrous results this time compared to “Phua Chu Kang The Movie”. His character is also father to a pretty radio producer (played by “881’s” Mindee Ong) whose idea it was to set up a radio show specially targeted at senior citizens, hence the decision to hire two ‘popos’ as deejays. In fact, our local celebrities Henry and Mindee are really just second fiddle to the two real-life Malaysian radio deejays, Luke and KK, who play the two ‘popo’ deejays in the movie.
As the self-absorbed deejays Jiang Man Da and Lu Ye Chang, KK and Luke are utterly hilarious. Most of the humour in the movie derives from their lightning-speed banter- whether in their regular selves or dressed up as two senior citizens- poking fun at a wide range of subjects including dating, social media and yes, old folks. While some of their jokes border on being offensive, there’s no doubt that they are genuinely amusing- and those who understand Cantonese will appreciate their mostly-Canto repartee greatly.
Luke and KK are also particularly adept at making the most of the movie’s physical gags arising from the comedic setup, as they learn how to walk, talk and behave like two ‘popos’. Of course, there are the obligatory ‘fake breasts gone south’ scenes, but there are also nice surprises like one where the pair is forced to act as midwives in order to keep up their disguises. And aiding them in perfecting their getup is their effeminate old schoolmate-turned-hairdresser (Singapore’s Benjamin Heng), the trio displaying great chemistry in their scenes together.
First-time Malaysian director Adrian Teh displays a confident hand behind the camera, keeping the pace of the movie brisk from gag to gag. Although some of the scenes could do with better transitions, he knows enough than to let a joke go on beyond its welcome, which is more than one can say for many local comedies. That said, an unexpected melodramatic turn towards the end of the film proves unwieldy for Teh, and causes the movie to lose the momentum it so handily built up earlier.
Even if it never quite manages to regain its footing fully, there’s still enough mileage to keep you entertained to the end. Fans of Malaysian cinema will also be delighted to hear an iconic song from one of its most illustrious stars, the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee’s song Getaran Jiwa, prominently featured here.
Indeed, in the scheme of the recent Malaysian-Singapore co-productions, this is one movie that probably feels more Malaysian than Singaporean- with the Malaysian stars Luke and KK easily outshining our local celebs Henry, Mindee, Benjamin and a scheming Alaric Tay. Still, let this not deter you from a largely amusing affair from start to finish (partly due to the rare pleasure of watching a movie on the big screen in Cantonese) and perhaps one of the best such co-productions of late.
(Lead actors and Malaysian radio deejays Luke and KK are genuinely funny with their lightning-quick banter, and this comedy is a light-hearted entertaining watch the whole family can enjoy)
Review by Gabriel Chong