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MONEY NO ENOUGH 2 (Singapore)

  Publicity Stills of "Money No Enough 2"
(Courtesy from GV)

In Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles
Director: Jack Neo
Cast: Jack Neo, Mark Lee, Henry Thia, Lai Meng, Vivian Lai, Lim Ru Ping
RunTime: 2 hrs 9 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.MoneyNoEnough2.com

Opening Day: 31 July 2008


Ten-years since the first Money No Enough, local celebrity auteur Jack Neo's "Money No Enough 2" returns to lampoon life in Singapore where money is never enough. The story revolves around three brothers from a middle-income background in contemporary Singapore. They are caricatures to represent the three income classes of Singaporeans. It is the filmmaker's wish that Money No Enough 2, through the trials and tribulations faced by the three Yang brothers, gives us insight into the lives of Singaporeans today and a chance to laugh at ourselves.

Movie Review:

If we Singaporeans really “money no enough”, why would we fork out money to watch local director Jack Neo’s latest movie?

Because we are suckers for a story that is close to our hearts (read: the Hollywood superhero isn’t going to save you when you don’t have enough cash to buy that swanky home entertainment system you’ve been eyeing for the longest time). Because we are suckers when a movie makes fun of the government (read: when you can’t protest about your grievances in front of the Istana, this is probably the next best alternative). And because we are suckers who want to see whether the award winning Neo is back in form after the disappointing Chinese New Year offer that was Ah Long Pte Ltd (read: we didn’t enjoy his last movie a lot, so the expectations for this one naturally isn’t very high).

Thankfully, the dread of having to sit through 126 minutes of drab affair turned into a pleasant surprise when we actually found ourselves chuckling heartily several times throughout the movie.

Ten years after the phenomenally successful Money No Enough (did you know that it was a chap named Tay Teck Lock who directed the movie, with Neo penning the screenplay?), the sequel tells the same old story of how Singaporeans live with the woes of not having enough money to get by everyday. Mark Lee, Henry Thia and Neo himself play three brothers with different personalities who deal with financial problems differently when a crisis hits the family.

The fine chemistry between the three of them is the first thing you notice. Having worked together for so long, it is only natural that the casting is spot on. Supporting roles are comfortably played by Lim Ru Ping (Thia’s family doting wife), “getai” singer Zhu Ling Ling (Neo’s showy wife) and Vivian Lai (Lee’s wife whose role is somewhat underdeveloped). Standout performances come from Lee (please stick to roles like this and not effeminate ones next to Fann Wong) and Malaysian actress Lai Meng (the brothers’ ailing mother). You can feel Lee’s angst as he screams his head off with Hokkien vulgarities in one quarrel scene. You can feel the quiet heartbreak when Lai shows signs of Alzheimer's disease as she repeatedly asks her son a simple question. These simple yet effective scenes are what make the movie work.

So when the movie decides to go into melodramatic mode during its last third, you forgive it because it makes for good tear jerking moments. Themes of family bonding and filial piety works best in such a context. You also forgive the movie for its straightforward camerawork (not an art film, remember?) and blatant product placements – how else do you think this is going to work for its massive marketing campaigns? Watch out for particular brands of beverages, barbecues pork, electrical appliances and telecommunication systems appearing in your face throughout the movie. Heck, there is even a bank involved in this movie.

Other than the emotional setups, locals will enjoy the jabs at how the government is making our lives poorer. We shan’t go into details here – let’s just say these are issues that you can hear in every other corner of Singapore. We read a report on how Neo is thankful that his movie is passed clean by our friends at the censorship. In a move to support local filmmakers, we are happy for him too – go on, get your parents into the cinema to enjoy this family affair of a movie.

Movie Rating:

(Jack Neo knows his heartland audience well enough to make this enjoyable movie)

Review by John Li


. Ah Long Pte Ltd (2008)

. Just Follow Law (2007)

. 881 (2007)

. I Not Stupid 2 (2006)

. Be With Me (2005)

. Eating Air DVD (1999)

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