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||IMDB Rating: 5.9/10 from votes
||Release: 21 August 2014 (Hong Kong) /
||Director: Goo-Bi GC,
||Stars: Ines Laimins, Matt Totty, Nick Cheung, Sammi Cheng
||Synopsis: Lung (Nick Cheung), a hardworking property agent, is facing a serious situation in life. His girlfriend won't marry him unless he can buy her a 1000-sq ft. apartment in one year's time; whilst Charlotte (Sammi Cheng) desperately needs a place to stay after her divorce. Along with Lung's intern Very (Oho), a mainland richling, they become co-owners of the office girl Hak's (Angelababy) small flat that was left to Hak by her estranged mother.
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The themes of limited land space and skyrocketing property prices that
underpin Temporary Family will resonate with all Singaporeans. After
all, in Hong Kong and in this tiny island-state of ours, it's becoming
increasingly difficult to own a home without having to tie oneself up
in a lifetime of debt. What gets lost in the translation is the film's
awkward blend of comedy and drama, which forces its main characters to
veer haphazardly from playing the fool to brooding about as a deeply
Lung (Nick Cheung) is a property agent on a deadline: his incredibly
practical girlfriend requires that he double his assets and the square
footage of the apartment he's offering her before she will marry him.
Desperate to succeed, Lung convinces his stepdaughter Hak (Angelababy),
super-rich intern Very (Oho Ou) and wealthy divorcée Charlotte (Sammi
Cheng) to buy a relatively cheap penthouse with him - one which they
will 'flip' for profit when the price of the flat inevitably rises in
future. Lung is flummoxed, however, when new regulatory controls are
imposed by the government that make it almost impossible for him to
resell the property. In the meantime, the foursome wind up as the
strangest - and untidiest - of bedfellows.
It's not that there isn't plenty of potential in Temporary Family.
Writer-director Cheuk Wan-Chi has created characters who are, frankly,
fascinating. Charlotte, in particular, hides a world of hurt beneath
her cheery, Louboutin-obsessed exterior. Peeling away her layers
reveals a tale of misery that could easily have been the centrepiece of
its own film. But the way in which her story actually plays out feels
faintly ridiculous, even in moments of high drama and tension. Her
character walks a very fine line between being strong and foolish, and
Cheuk isn't quite assured enough a director to find both the comedy and
tragedy of Charlotte's plight.
The other characters are in the same boat. We are frequently told that
Lung has a depth and spirit to him that's now been drained away by the
demands of real life, but it becomes increasingly hard to care when his
desperation to sell the property makes him largely oblivious to the
troubles of everyone around him, especially Hak. What dramatic depth
the character has is also leeched away by the string of iniquities to
which he's subjected throughout the film, like dog-sitting for a
capricious customer or tangling with an unidentifiable stray hair in
At least Cheuk's cast is worth the watch. Cheng walks away with MVP
honours; she's as convincing when clowning her way through a scene as
she is when heartbrokenly squeezing a cupcake to bits in her hand.
Angelababy, so typecast as the feisty, pretty girl in much of her
filmography to date, breaks free of that stereotype as Hak, a
tantalisingly tough tomboy of a delivery girl who remains close to Lung
even though there have been several boyfriends since in her mother's
life. Cheung and Ou do well enough with more undercooked parts.
It's hard to tell what to think by the time the movie draws to a close.
Tables have been overturned (literally), romance has been kindled, and
the themes of the film seem to have been lost in the process. To be
fair, Cheuk does find something incisive to say every once in a while
about the ever higher costs of owning your own home. But she also seems
to spend more time distracting her audience - and herself - with comic
antics that don't amount to much.
Tags for Temporary Family Full Movie
, Matt Totty
, Nick Cheung
, Sammi Cheng
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