Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bug Me Not! (Hong Kong 2005)

It's been awhile since my last review, and boy did I pick a doozy to come back with. A mixture of poor CG and live-action, Bug Me Not! is a movie that is clearly geared towards the under 10 crowd, and with good intentions. However, the hour and twenty-seven minutes that it takes to get to the end would be considered trying even for the most patient child. Sometimes reviewing movies ain't easy.

Young Moon is an interesting little girl, in the sense that she walks around speaking gibberish all the time, to the point where it concerns her mother (Candy Lo). It seems Moon's best friend is a little ladybug with an incredibly awkward name: Coochie (Jan Lamb). This obviously doesn't have the same meaning in Chinese as it does in American English slang, so we'll just have to look past it. It's cute, and maybe even a little strange that the little girl and a bug can talk with one another. Moon's mother tells her it's unhealthy to talk such gibberish (walking around screaming Coochie all the time), and that talking to bugs will pretty much make adults cry. Moon doesn't want to make her mother upset, so she stops talking to Coochie, resulting in the two parting not to be reunited until a fateful encounter in a trashcan years later.

Coochie couldn't have come into teenage Moon's (Isabella Leung) life at a better time. Moon has her eye on a young man Hyland (Wilsen Chen), who works for his dad, just across the street from her apartment building. Who better to give advice to a young woman on the verge of her first love than a jive-talkin' ladybug? Don't answer that. At school, Moon and her girlfriends are doing the chit-chat things in the restroom, unaware that three teenage boy's are sitting in a stall eavesdropping on their conversation about breasts and being horny teenage girls. Smarty (Kenny Kwan), Eggy (Steven Cheung) and Baldy (Xu Boping) are the three culprits, and Smarty shows off an interesting skill, by being able to look through the stall door at the girl's! Eventually the three are caught, and after a wacky getaway scene, we find out these young men have "Ultra Powers", and are part of a special group of young people that are led by Auntie (Gillian Chung) who looks 23, but is 70 years old in reality. It turns out the boys were observing Moon in an attempt to lure her to their group because of her Ultra Power of speaking to bugs. I couldn't possibly be making this up.

In the romance department, things are progressing slowly for Moon and Hyland. Auntie tells Hyland about the "Pushover Contest" that she believes he should enter. Hyland has a severe problem with people touching him, so the idea is to help him get over his fear by being forced into man-handling people in a ring. Aside from not wanting anyone, including Moon, to touch him...Hyland can't read either. So the real question is: who wouldn't want to date him!? The prize for winning the Pushover Contest (think a sumo match, but anything goes), is a "close encounter" with Japanese idol Sasao (Charlene Choi). As you can imagine, Hyland is in the final match vying for the prize, and Moon's heart, but I'd hate to spoil the outcome for you. After a little help from Moon's bug friends, the organizer of the contest catches Coochie and Co. Moon steals them back and runs off, but Hyland stands in her way, refusing to let her leave until she apologizes to the contest organizer for ruining the match with the use of bugs. Moon can't believe Hyland won't take her side and the two get in an argument, which shows how incredibly insane Moon actually is by throwing everything she can find at Hyland. Oddly enough, the fight ends with Hyland grabbing some breasts' and Moon is so shocked (and happy) that she runs off, completely forgetting about the Coochie crew. The bugs get angry at Moon for being a "typical" human, and they get angry at Coochie for having such a terrible human friend. After a confusing situation for the bugs (and myself), they believe Coochie is dead and go on strike against contributing to the environmental cycle of Hong Kong and wage war amongst the humans. Moon, Hyland, and the other's just want to find Coochie and stop the madness. Is Coochie really dead? Will the bugs ever forgive Moon and her friends? Do you even care at this point?

The answer to that last question is probably a big NO. I have a hard time trying to find good things to say about kids movies. Sure, the performances were competent enough, and the two leads are sure to make some pre-teens swoon. However, the very idea of the movie was just so absurd without explanation that you can't being to wrap your head around the proceedings. Chances are you won't even want to. Not to mention the two musical numbers in the movie that literally came out of nowhere. Watching Bug Me Not! has helped me realize that I'm willing to watch any movie that shows up at my doorstep. It has too much story to get kids entertained, and it seems way too childish for teenagers to really enjoy. It's awkwardly stuck somewhere in between, and that just makes me wonder why, at my age, did I even bother. (Lee)

Buy Bug Me Not! on DVD or VCD at YESASIA!

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