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Dummy Mommy Without a Baby
  |     review    |     awards     |      availability     |
Miriam Yeung
 
Year: 2001
Director: Joe Ma Wai-Ho, Mak Kai-Kwong
Cast: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah, Edison Chen, Niki Chow Lai-Kei, Wyman Wong Wai-Man, Pauline Yam Bo-Lam, Hui Siu-Hung, Cha Siu-Yun, Chor Yuen, Cheung Tat-Ming, Moses Chan Ho, Sammy, Soi Cheang Pou-Soi
The Skinny: Amusing comedy with winning performers that derails thanks to mean-spirited humor and lazy plotting. Director Joe Ma has definitely done better.
Review
by Kozo:
     Hit film from Joe Ma's Brilliant Idea Group remakes an older film of the same Cantonese title. Singer Miriam Yeung stars as Fong, who works at an advertising firm and is at odds with high ranking colleague Monica (Pauline Yam). After an e-mail snafu puts Fong on the firing line, she decides to feign pregnancy as HK labor laws stipulate that pregnant women can't be fired for a period of 10 months.
     The scam works, and Fong discovers that there are a lot of perks involved with her single mother status. She takes heavy advantage of that, securing help from her colleagues as well as fancy new digs from her overly-nice CEO (Edison Chen, in what has to be one of the weirdest casting decisions of the year). Ultimately the scam gets out of hand, the lies pile up, and we prepare ourselves for the expected comedic denouement.
     Unfortunately, an appropriate climax never seems to be in the offing. Joe Ma and Mak Kai-Kwong pile up so many lies and tricky situations that too many people will get the shaft when Fong's duplicity is revealed. Even worse, Fong and her cohort/best pal/co-worker Dina (Joe Ma fave Niki Chow) show very little actual remorse until they're on the brink of being caught. Before then, they've already taken taken advantage of others, and even engaged in some assault and kidnapping to cover their tracks. The situations are amusing enough, but it's hard to be won over by people who don't seem to care that they're breaking the law and cheating perfectly decent people.
     It's times like these that a star's charisma is supposed to win over the audience, and Miriam Yeung almost does the job. I say "almost" because the film's twists and turns are so manufactured that she can't really do much to rise above the material. Yeung has a charming personality, but her character is downright unlikable. The only measure of her decency is that rival Monica is even more unlikable. Strangely enough, the most sympathetic character is Fong's boss, played by terminally maligned prettyboy Edison Chen. Chen still isn't much of an actor, and he doesn't look appropriate for his role at all. Still, he doesn't resort to the punkish posturing that's typified his stage and screen persona.
     After Fighting for Love, a case could be made that Joe Ma has gotten lazy with his romantic comedies. He hangs Dummy Mommy on Miriam Yeung's ample charms, but she lacks the requisite depth to rescue the film from its own downward spiral. She can do cute and she can do winning, but she can't change the fact that Fong should be thrown in jail. Maybe this is supposed to be commentary on the region's economic downturn - that people who simply want to make a living for themselves can be easily forgiven for their transgressions. However, if that's what the filmmakers wanted to say then I think I missed the memo. (Kozo 2001)
Awards: 21st Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best New Artist (Niki Chow Lai-Kei)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Various Extras

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