Mighty Baby

Reviewed by YTSL

Last week, I showed “La Brassiere” to my mother and a couple of family friends -- who proceeded to promptly disabuse me of my previously held supposition that the uniquely bra themed comedy was one that all women would love.  From the former -- whose favorite Chinese language filmic offering happens to be the frequently very wacky “Shanghai Blues” -- came the comment that the 2001 offering was of okay quality but somehow “wasn’t as funny” as she had anticipated that it would be.  From the latter duo -- two English ladies for which the Patrick Leung and Chan Hing Kar co-directed effort actually was the second Hong Kong movie that they had ever checked out (with “My Left Eye Sees Ghosts” being their enjoyed introduction to the world of Hong Kong cinema) -- emanated not necessarily positive statements to the effect that the Chan Hing Kar and Amy Chin co-scripted cum -executive produced work may well be the strangest film that they have ever viewed.

More recently, my mother and I went to take in a big screen showing of the “Ultimate Bra” movie’s informal sequel.  Even if she hadn’t said that it was so, the loud laughs that often issued from her -- rather than just myself and seemingly everyone (else) in the cinema! -- during the baby (products) filled offering’s well attended afternoon screening would have provided me with sufficient confirmation of her finding MIGHTY BABY to be a far funnier proposition than the earlier work with which this summer 2002 movie has a large number of cast and crew members in common.  At the same time, however, we didn’t have (m)any regrets about not having exposed our aforementioned English friends to what effectively constitutes a near flummoxingly bizarre new installment in the farcical saga which centers on the HKSAR portion of the international business company whose corporate headquarters are located in Japan; this, more than anything else, on account of the 109.50 minute effort which Tim Youngs has described as having only 15 to 20 minutes worth of plot undoubtedly being far too mind-bogglingly “mo lei tau” in style than and feel -- plus local and insider joke heavy -- for most newcomers to the Hong Kong film universe to handle.
If the Singapore “Straits Times”’ reviewer is to be believed, MIGHTY BABY also might hold little attraction for those who are not fans of: Lau Ching Wan, who once more plays the overgrown boy-man known as Johnny; Louis Koo, whose initially baby phobic Wayne character is Johnny’s partner in crime; Gigi Leung, who -- unlike Carina Lau (who has been relegated in this effort to something akin to a cameo appearance) -- continues to have a fairly significant role in the shenaniganish proceedings as Lena (plus is the singer of at least one of the movie’s songs); Rosamund Kwan, whose Sabrina character is unexpectedly bespectacled plus ditzy; and/or Cecilia Cheung, who turns out to be rather appealing as an empathetic baby expert named Boey.  At the risk of sounding sexist, I would add that -- on account of its possessing an extremely high cutesy (tyke) quotient -- the Hai Chung Man art directed film’s makers do look as well to have strongly targeted those who are female and youthful (or at least young at heart), to the extent of being pretty willing to risk alienating those who possess a masculine disposition.
In any case, a good measure of how one will react to MIGHTY BABY may be discerned from how one responds to the China Star production’s cute infant packed opening credit sequence.  Ditto re the offering’s basic, baby (products) focused plot consisting of: the husband of the Sis Group’s now pregnant top executive (Kanoko is essayed once again by Chikako Aoyama) making a gift of the B&B baby products company to her; the Japanese woman, on the suggestion of Carina Lau’s Samantha character, appointing Lena as B&B’s Hong Kong branch head and Johnny as its chief designer; and Johnny (whose relationship with the workaholic Samantha had recently ended) successfully asking his best buddy plus Lena’s boyfriend, Wayne, to help with the(ir) assignment to produce the ultimate infant product within six months (and to coincide with the birth of Kanoko and her equally Japanese -- but also apparently Cantonese language understanding -- spouse’s (new) child).
As most Hong Kong film fans will probably be able to predict, complications arise -- and with them, all manner of frequently far fetched sub-plots and tangents -- in order that the makers of MIGHTY BABY can jam in a large (enough) amount of often interesting, imaginative and frankly -- but nonetheless -- idiotic elements into the resultantly uneven movie.  One of them stems from Wayne having a fear of infants that it is considered professionally as well as personally advantageous for him to overcome (and provides a fairly logical reason for the inclusion into the story of Cecilia Cheung’s “more to her than initially meets the eye” Boey character).  Another is the result of Johnny’s hiring of the eccentric Sabrina to be his secretary.  A third involves his appearing to fall for the character played by Rosamund Kwan.  A fourth has to do with Wayne being suspected of doing the same with another employee of the -- as with its parent company -- predominantly female firm (perhaps as a negative reaction to his (now) live-in partner being his boss, at least during working hours).
However complex, multi-stranded and convoluted it may seem, I’d actually opine that the (primary) plot of MIGHTY BABY still is -- and its associated sub-plots also are -- merely the frame on, and within, which could be loosely hung a diverse (but often cartoonish in nature) series of comic sketch type situations (and guest appearances -- of varying size and import -- by the likes of GC Goo Bi, Jim Chim, Vincent Kuk, Barbara Wong Chun Chun, Tats Lau, Wilson Yip, Chapman To and Rosemary Vanderbrouke).  Of those that would be better seen without the possession of prior detailed knowledge of them, my personal favorites are: that which involve a small bowl and baby’s bottom; and another which centers around a large, bouncy plus humongously expensive envisioned prototype of a baby product.  Suffice to say at this juncture that these guffaw inducing scenes alone -- along with my liking a lot many of the main members of this star-studded cast -- ensured that I would derive much enjoyment from viewing that which is too “all over the place” to be a conventionally good work but makes up for it by being wildly eager to entertain.

My rating for the film: 7.5