15 January 2006 | DICK STEEL
A Nutshell Review: (DVD) I Not Stupid (2002)
OK, I admit that the reason why I'm watching this - it's homework for the upcoming sequel which I intend to watch when it's released in the local theaters. Therefore I needed to be acquainted with the source material other than bits and pieces from the extended television serial.
Jack Neo has made movies which have been box-office successes locally, grossing millions, starting with the very popular, but very raw, Money No Enough. It captured the attention and appealed to the heart-landers, who gave him a resounding vote of confidence at the box office. Following that are many social dramadies like That One No Enough, Liang Po Po, and the likes.
But perhaps none struck the chord so closely, as that jab at the typical Singaporean kiasu-parents, school administrators who are fearful of their rankings, the much criticized EM1-2-3 streaming in primary schools, and the introduction of perceived foreign talent on our shores.
And that's what I Not Stupid is about, and more. Compared to his previous movies, I Not Stupid has matured in refining its story telling techniques, having social issues subtly weaved into its dialog, and giving the audience the ability to draw chuckles out of caricatures of the government in its characters (Selena Tan as the big-momma, dressed in all white, all the time, anyone?) The casting also took some major changes, without having J-Team members as lead characters here. The 3 child leads did quite OK, given that they have veterans actors as their parents helped a lot too.
The plot did seem to wear on as it seemed to drag to make it 2 hours, which contributed to quite a bit of plot holes. Also, some subplots seemed unnecessary too, or if retained in the film, wasn't succinct to the point, like the kidnapping subplot.
However, if you've been following Jack Neo's movies, then it is marked improvement. The jokes are less slapstick, though it was kinda strange to have characters telling jokes, and everyone around laughing. Not that it was bad, just quite unnaturally acted.
So am I ready for I Not Stupid Too? Frankly, yes. Though the trailer did not reveal too much except for the public caning scene, I'm silently geared up for more social issues being taken to the stand, and awaiting to see how Jack Neo spins them together for another ride.
Special Edition Code 3 DVD contains 2 music videos from the movie, song lyrics, packaged into a pictorial book containing the synopsis and cast and crew interviews and biographies.