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Just Laugh Loh! - Funny, though lacking in focus and direction
Directed by Singapore's most successful commercial filmmaker, Jack Neo's "Just Follow Law" looks into the rigidness of the local civil service. From "Money No Enough" to "I Not Stupid", his films never fail to make a social commentary on the society, with characters who reflect reality of life in Singapore.
Through the experiences of a director and technician who exchanges souls in a freak accident, "Just Follow Law" demonstrates the bureaucracy, endless red tape, and inefficiency of government bodies and organisations. It would strike a chord with local blue collared workers. But the emotions and angst of the common people which made the "I Not Stupid" series very strong, was not well-developed. The sub-plot of soul switching and 'mini-MTVs' slowed down the pace and shifted its focus during the middle.
After criticisms of her English on foreign TV, Fann Wong showed her improvement playing the elite scholar Tanya Chew. After the switch of souls, she slipped in comfortably as a vulgar technician who scratches her (his) backside and sits with open legs. She certainly made her 6-figure paycheck worth and proved her versatility in acting.
Gurmit Singh was not overly exaggerated as in most of the comedies he performed (including the disastrous Singapore Idol hosting), but turned in a subtle and gentle performance as a trapped woman.
Other minor characters such as Lao Char Bo (Fann's mother), the Indian security guard and the administrative staff stole the show with their stereotypical, yet realistic portrayal of people we see around. Are we laughing at them or laughing at ourselves?
Product Placement is a double-edged sword. Without sponsors, there won't be a movie, but it diminishes the artistic merits of the movie. Spot the number of sponsors and see how much you get correct at the end credits. It isn't too difficult as most are repeat sponsors from previous movies. So expect Fann Wong to open a fridge full of Super products, also indulging in her New Moon abalone. Talk about subtlety! Tsk Tsk!
It gets worse as Jack Neo (who plays a doctor) also appears in a Mitsubishi ad and Fann Wong appeared in a Bella ad in the movie. Double roles or breaking characters? Major fault.
"Just Follow Law" does provide some laughs along the way through is characterisation and little situations we face in our working life. Unfortunately, mistakes made in his previous films resurface again. Songs should be used to bring a film forward not stall it Even though Billy Koh's Ocean Butterfly helped to produce the songs, 3 songs were too much. The focus on office politics got lost along the way, and the ending became another one of those predictable stage plays used in his last movie.
"Just Follow Law" still screams 'Channel 8' and lacks the movie quality. Overall, a good 'Chinese New Year' piece for the family, but expect no awards. Jack Neo may be a good social commentator but still has some time to go before he can be considered an accomplished director.
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