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Money No Enough 2

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If I were to answer Jack Neo’s question: “Is money now enough?” I would say yes and no. Let’s start with the no. No because I am still in Singapore, and if money were really enough for me, I’d be travelling around the world.

mne2.jpgAnd yes because compared to many others, I still have a roof over my head, I can pay for my bills, there is food on the table and I can even afford to catch Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight twice. But my answer weighs more towards yes as an answer – money is enough… for now.

Back to the movie – to sum it up in one word: unbelievable. Have you ever watched a film that could capture you through a full hour and a half? Surely there are times in some films where you would space out, but this is not the case when I watched Money No Enough 2. I’ll break my review into two parts: the first half hour and the rest of it.

It is a great pity when I recall the first half hour because so much more could have been done with the first 30 minutes. The screen was splashed with scenes scripted to please sponsors, though perhaps this was a pun on the title? In any case, audiences are forced to sit through one informercial after the next, and I just felt that this whole block of film did nothing to add value to the film, especially the second half of it. The only redeeming factor was the opening sequence featuring national songs – sung in Hokkien!

The movie revolves around three brothers, Ah Huang (Mark Lee), Ah Qiang (Jack Neo) and Ah Hui (Henry Thia), and their struggle to survive a sudden plunge in their finances. Of the three siblings, only Huang and Qiang are earning the ‘big bucks’, while Hui and his large family are squeezed into a three-roomed flat and are barely getting by.

Hui gets a breakthrough by going into sales with the help of Huang, and it is only here that the theme of human greed versus good intentions is explored. While both brothers are intent on providing a better life for their mother, their greed eventually brings consequences.

Their life takes a spiral downwards as all three brothers either get fired or on their way to bankruptcy. Jack Neo piles on the melodrama here, with Huang’s wife getting arrested for misusing her company’s funds in order to save the family, and in a jab to Royston’s soon to be released 12 Lotus, turned Qiang’s wife and daughter into Getai singers to make ends meet.

With emotions running high in each nucleated family, their mother, who was diagnosed with diabetes and dementia, gets neglected and was eventually sent to a home.

The plot predictably twists here as the family worries for their mother – not because of her collapse, but because of the costs that is incurred in placing her in a hospital. And if you think the crying and arguing at this point marks the climax of the melodrama, you are wrong. Qiang receives a phone call just then about his daughter’s car accident, and has her rushed to the same hospital, where both his daughter and mother require a blood transfusion.

I could go on, but I might just spoil the entire movie for you, so there you have it – the movie in a nutshell. Looking beyond its weak start, the amateurish graphics (which is still, quite impressive for a Singaporean product), the stiff and robotic extras and sometimes over-exagerrated emotions, the movie is a sound statement of how Singapore’s society is expanding in every way.

From the film’s perceptive, there is feeling of hope, of greener pastures – the storyline calls for more open-mindedness to ideas and exercised less restraint in mentioning politics. It also highlights the fact that the elderly are very often seen as a burden in our society, and in this vein, the film made me reflect on my own grandparents and my own views about aging, and thus making my heart grow bigger as a person, so for this I think Jack Neo deserves my applause.

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