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McDull: Me & My Mum
McDull: The Pork of Music

Mrs. Mak and McDull gettin' practical in McDull: Me & My Mum.
Chinese: 麥兜˙我和我媽媽
Year: 2014  
Director: Brian Tse  
Producer: Brian Tse, He Zhi Kai, Samuel Choy
Writer: Brian Tse, Alice Mak
Voices: Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Babyjohn Choi, Zhang Zhengzhong, The Pancakes, Li Yundi
The Skinny: The McDull formula isn’t broken so they didn’t fix it. McDull: Me & My Mum is more of the same McDull shenanigans, with a few notable tweaks that may or may not color your enjoyment. Either way, the kids should be pleased.
by Kozo:

More McDull is always a good thing. But when this thing is too much like that last thing and also the thing a few things before it? The law of diminishing returns dictates that fatigue may set in. McDull: Me & My Mum brings back the dim-witted Hong Kong piglet (voiced by Zhang Zhengzhong) for more metaphorical misadventures, as he grows up with the guidance and love of his mother, the pragmatic Mrs. Mak (voiced by Sandra Ng). Directed by McDull co-creator Brian Tse, Me & My Mum does offer a few departures from previous McDull iterations. However, it’s questionable whether or not these changes are improvements, or even fit with McDull’s previous successful and poignant themes.

Me & My Mum is narrated by the adult McDull, now called Bobby Mak (voiced by Babyjohn Choi). He’s become a renowned detective and even stars in his own popular cartoon show called “Detective Flying Dragon”. Bobby is called in to solve what looks like a murder, and the cops and child onlookers are delighted at his presence – though the frazzled police inspector (Anthony Wong, again voicing numerous identical-looking mustachioed men) doesn’t share their fandom. With the help of his assistant Fai (that cute turtle of the McDull adventures), Bobby quickly investigates and declares the mystery solved, only the actual culprit won’t be revealed until after a period of time has passed.

While waiting, Bobby decides to regale the assembled children and police with his life story, which starts when he was but a wee tyke living with his mother. As a child, McDull was doing his usual dumb things while Mrs. Mak was making ends meet in countless jobs, including appearing as a superheroine called “Household Genie” in a traveling roadshow where she dispensed handy lifehacks involving clothes hangers. She also showed McDull how to haggle at the market, and taught him the practicality of using his eyes and imagination as a stand-in for the camcorder that he didn’t own. Occasionally, Mrs. Mak made suspicious trips to “astronaut training”, which took her away from McDull for a time.

Obviously, Mrs. Mak wasn’t really slated for a space flight, and it’s up to the audience to discern that she was actually visiting the hospital in preparation for a grand journey to the afterlife. Mrs. Mak’s impending departure adds an extra layer of poignancy to this McDull outing, plus it provides a bittersweet game of “pretend” for McDull and his mother to play. This theme plays a large role in Me & My Mum and effectively demonstrates the strength of Mrs. Mak’s maternal love. And yet, this story point is not that different from the pretend vacation to the Maldives (actually Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak) that the two took in My Life as McDull.

Stripped down, Me & My Mum is a standard McDull story minus a unique plot device like martial arts (McDull Kung Fu Ding Ding Dong) or music (McDull: The Pork or Music). This simplified McDull is still quite charming; there’s a lot to like in the idea that the minutiae that define our childhood will one day help us. It’s kind of like saying all those hours spent collecting baseball cards will make us better stock brokers as adults. And even if the result is simply a shed of rotting baseball cards, that’s fine – a minor life lived well is still a golden one. That’s McDull in a nutshell. Not exactly “dare to dream”, but this gentle lyricism never fails to charm.

However, the largest departure in Me & My Mum turns one prevalent McDull trope on its head. Rather than becoming a noble nobody, this McDull becomes an intelligent and respected detective. Earlier McDull films usually celebrated McDull’s mediocrity and decency rather than delivering a movie-typical narrative about rising to the top – but the “be the winner” storyline is kind of what happens in Me & My Mum. Can we identify with a smart, successful McDull as easily as the big-dreaming yet unsuccessful tyke of McDull movies past? And is the tale of a noble nobody really preferable to the story of a zero who becomes a hero? This may be the audience’s call.

It’s hard to fault Me & My Mum as kids entertainment, as it’s colorful, charming and easier to parse than previous McDull films. However, the recycling of themes and the lack of a complex message may make it the least satisfying McDull for some adults. Perhaps McDull has become somewhat outdated. The film series has been around since 2001, so the generation that took to its local flavor and humble themes are now aging and affected by new things. They might have moved on, while the McDull movies haven’t entirely kept pace. Lesser McDull is still a success, but matching the heights of the original My Life as McDull or the sublime McDull, Prince de la Bun will require greater inspiration. (Kozo, 10/2014)


DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Panorama (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

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