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CJ7 (2008)

Director: Stephen Chow
Starring: Stephen Chow, Xu Jiao, Kitty Zhang Yuqi, Chi Chung Lam, Min Hun Fung, Lee Sheung Ching

Tagline: I want a CJ7!

Dicky (Xu Jiao) is a mischievous young student who is doted on by his Dad, Ti (Stephen Chow) who is poor, but wants to give his son a good education by sending him to a private school.

Dicky is picked on by the other students for being different and even the grumpy Mr Cao (Lee Sheung Ching) doesn’t like him much, but he does have the support of the lovely Miss Yuen (Kitty Zhang Yuqi) who also seems to be interested in his dad.

After Dicky complains about not being able to afford a toy everyone at school has, his dad finds him one on the garbage dump to try and please him. Dicky gets in trouble again due to it and in one of the film’s funniest scenes some strange things start happening to the toy when he accidentally activates it.

Cynical viewers may think that the alien creature, named CJ7 by Dicky was designed mainly to maximise toy sales, but I think it has a lot of personality and is much better than a lot of computer animated characters these days, which seem lifeless. I liked the scene where Dicky’s new friends get it to make a whole lot of faces in a row and it short-circuits (a call-back to a similar scene in Stephen Chow’s King of Comedy.)

Despite Dicky’s fantasies for his new pet (the send-up of Kung Fu Hustle was great), it doesn’t really turn out as well as he was expecting and he throws CJ7 in the garbage, only releasing that he made a mistake when the garbage truck takes it away. Lucky for Dicky that his dad does the rounds of the garbage dumps, so CJ7 is at home waiting for him when he returns.

There is a lot of drama in the last part of the movie, but it fits in the rest of the film and helps the movie from being too cutesy overall. For a film of this rating you wouldn’t expect some things to happen like they do so it is interesting.

Stephen Chow plays the down-trodden, but proud father well in a role that was similar to the one he played in Kung Fu Hustle. He is not as wacky in this movie and put in a very restrained performance.

Xu Jiao as Dicky was great and as she is actually a girl playing a boy’s role it is extra special. Her ears are very hairy, which made it very distracting to watch some scenes as I was looking at her ears the whole time.

The other students were also great and so cute including the mean Egg Tart, Fanny and the gentle-giant Minne. Kitty Zhang Yuqi as Miss Yuen doesn’t really have many scenes, but I thought she went well and Lee Sheung Ching as Mr Cao playing the grumpy teacher who has to pick his nose in one scene.

No Ng Man-Tat again for some reason, but Vincent Kok returns as writer and producer, which was great to see as he also wrote God of Cookery that is still one of my favourite Stephen Chow movies.

As a Chinese New Year movie this film is great, but it is not really as big and showy as Kung Fu Hustle. It seems Stephen Chow wanted to have a rest between movies and Kung Fu Hustle 2 is still a long way off. Having had a role in 47 movies in the 1990s and only 4 in the 2000’s you can understand why he wants a rest.

I was a bit disappointed that this movie wasn’t promoted more considering the success of Stephen Chow’s last movie. It was also only showing on one screen at one cinema when I went to see it, but even for the first showing of the day it bought in a lot of people so hopefully it goes well.

Rating: 8/10

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