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After a string of bad luck, a debt collector has no other choice than to spend the night in a haunted temple, where he encounters a ravishing female ghost and later battles to save her soul from the control of a wicked tree demon.
Lung (Nick Cheung), a hardworking property agent, is facing a serious situation in life. His girlfriend won't marry him unless he can buy her a 1000-sq ft. apartment in one year's time; whilst Charlotte (Sammi Cheng) desperately needs a place to stay after her divorce. Along with Lung's intern Very (Oho), a mainland richling, they become co-owners of the office girl Hak's (Angelababy) small flat that was left to Hak by her estranged mother.
In Hong Kong, land space is limited, soaring residential property and rental prices have made it extremely difficult for many ordinary Hong Kong citizens to own a house of their own without tying themselves up in a lifetime of debt. This is mainly due to rampant property speculation which caused prices to rise uncontrollably in the property market over the years. As a result, society has become increasingly shallow, superficial and materialistic over the years as the desire for more money to afford a property leads to further erosion of moral values and core ethics, affecting future generations.
Temporary Family is basically a story about the lives of four people who are forced to live together in a luxury apartment after their plan to resell it backfired due to property market cooling measures implemented by the Hong Kong government. Lung (Nick Cheung) is a desperate property agent who tries to earn more money to buy a 1,000 sq ft flat to please her air-stewardess girlfriend Julie (Myolie Wu) so that she would marry him. Charlotte (Sammi Cheng) is a recent divorcée who refuses to accept that her husband just doesn't love her anymore and unable to move on, even after receiving a large sum of money after the divorce. Lung's step-daughter, Ah Hak (Angelababy) has a flat but she doesn't like the location and she wants to stay with Lung instead. Very Wong (Ou Hao) is a rich mainland colleague of Lung's who is eager to prove his worthiness to his wealthy dad that he can be successful without his father's help.
The film has a weird blend of comedy and drama that works quite well. Some of the jokes were quite funny and entertaining. Nick Cheung and Sammi Cheng both delivered strong acting performances to carry the film. Another thing worth mentioning is Angelababy Yeung's appearance without make-up. WOW. It really shows what a huge difference make-up can have on a woman's appearance. (Don't get me wrong, she still look attractive though) It's quite rare for an actress to be willing to make such an appearance in film. As usual, there's a few Hong Kong celebrity cameo appearances (Jacky Cheung, Ivana Wong) throughout the film as well.
As the film progresses, it starts to shift its focus to Charlotte, who is still hoping that one day she can reunite with her husband of 10 years. She has dedicated most of her life for her husband. Her emotions and drive provide the necessary emotional backdrop to show the audience why a residential property should be a home instead of a mere trading asset. The film lets its audience to sit back, reflect, and think about what is the fundamental purpose of owning a property in the first place...is it a home for you and your family to live in or just something that you can trade countless times with other people? A house should be a place for you to provide shelter to your family to create memories together. Most of the property speculation are mainly driven by greed or desire to make profit. Furthermore, society nowadays has become so obsessed with money, property ownership to the point that people are willing to forsake love and relationship for them. It's sad but true at the same time.
Despite its thoughtful premise and decent acting performances from the main casts, the script is just not compelling enough to leave a strong lasting impression to the audience. The film does not push its themes further enough to pack a punch. It takes a more light-hearted, entertaining approach by providing a happy ending for its closure. Overall, Temporary Family is still a decent film to watch, it's just that I was actually hoping that the film would take a much more ambitious approach to push it further.