Reviewed by: grimes
The Hollywood high concept pitch: "It's The Wonder Years set in Hong Kong in the early 80's." Since I first wrote this review I
have been informed by Shelly Kraicer that this really was the idea behind this series of movies, according to an interview
with the director that he read.
For those of you who not seen The Wonder Years, it was an American sitcom about the adolescent years of a suburban boy,
Kevin Arnold, growing up in the 60's. For a sitcom, it was actually quite good, often dealing with fairly serious issues, and
presenting a fairly realistic view of what it is like to grow up, warts and all.
This movie has the same more or less the same premise, although it covers a shorter timespan, a year, in the life of fourteen
year old Bo. As in many coming of age stories, a good portion of the story focuses on love and sex. It opens up with the
almost mandatory first wet dream and proceeds from there. Of course, Bo, the main character, discovers that his longtime
childhood friend Tingting is actually quite cute. This is, in fact, the exact same plot line as the very first episode of The
Wonder Years and both Winnie (Kevin's love interest), and Tingting (Bo's love interest), have nearly identical haircuts. In
addition, their respective first kisses occur in almost exactly the same manner.
There are a few other plot lines running through the movie, mostly focusing on Bo's relationship with his parents and a
beautiful female boarder at his house. It is more or less standard fare, but well written. There are no huge surprises from
the film but it is solid, often touching, and very often hilarious. There were several scenes that had me laughing out loud
(quite loudly), particularly some of the fantasy/dream sequences in the film. This is the kind of movie that you watch and
find yourself thinking "Oh, I remember what that was like." This is probably more true for men since the main character is
male but there is much that both sexes can identify with in the film.
Another similarity to The Wonder Years is the running narration by an older voice, presumably the grown-up voice of Bo.
Some of the elements of the film don't quite hang together, particularly some of the visual elements that are introduced
maybe once or twice never to be seen again. This is only a small distraction, as this film is much more about the story being
told than the manner of its telling. It was written by the writer of Lost and Found, Heaven Can't Wait and He Ain't Heavy,
He's My Father. In style, it is closest to the last of those three.
This film is highly recommended for people who are fans of both Hong Kong films and The Wonder Years. Of course, there's
probably not too many of those people out there besides me. Its also highly recommended to anyone who did not have a
perfect adolescence, which presumably is everyone. Painfully close to the bone at times (I think I actually winced once or
twice), this is a charming coming of age film.
Reviewed by: STSH
Summary: Pleasant boy's-eye-view of growing up to be fourteen
Tang (who also narrates) plays Bor with an engaging mixture of wide-eyed naivete, good humour and stressed-out angst. Along the way, people give him advice, some less than helpful. For instance, his father Ting Yeung (Eric Tsang) admonishes him to "cut down on your wanking". When the beautiful Moon moves in, Bor's dreams spin out of control, and he melts whenever she gives him "that look". The Bee Gees "First Of May" is overused but effective. Though fairly gentle, this film doesn't dress teen problems up in polite terms, and there are even mild sex scenes.
Reviewer Score: 6
OVERALL : Not great, but warm, endearing and sometimes funny.
Footnote : Some scenes of this film were copied into the much raunchier Screwball_94.