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Bless the Child
Year: 2003
Pauline Suen and Tse Kwan-Ho
Director: Jones Ma Wah-Kon
Producer: Ng Kin-Hung
Cast: Pauline Suen Kai-Kwan, Tse Kwan-Ho, Belinda Hamnett, Harwick Lau Hau-Wai, Claire Yiu Ka-Lei, Eva Wong Sum-Yu, Fan Yik-Man
The Skinny: Low-rent Groundhog Day mines the same territory as the US film—except without Bill Murray or the laughs. The results are warm and fuzzy, but also cheap, inconsequential and borderline boring.
Review
by Kozo:
     The video gurus at B&S Films were responsible for Bless the Child, a low-rent Groundhog Day which doesn't come close to matching its inspiration. Pauline Suen is Boni Mok, a hard-as-nails advertising exec who's rough on her underlings. She's actually quite a softie, but after being passed up for various promotions, she became a strict taskmistress. Her toughness is not without some reason—her subordinates are generally lazy and self-serving, though there is Sean (Tse Kwan-Ho), the somewhat cool standout of the group. In fact, Sean seems like such a level-headed nice guy that Boni begins to fall for him.
     Unfortunately, the company's big advertising campaign gets sold to a competitor, and Boni is summarily dismissed and disregarded. Luckily there's the Groundhog Day-effect, which allows her to repeat one day (March 19th) in perpetuity until she presumably gets it right. Her goal is to discover which of her employees framed her, but instead she starts to discover that they happen to be people too. Presumably, she'll right the wrongs, become a better person, and get the guy. And all in under ninety minutes.
      Bless the Child takes a good forty-five minutes to get to its looping point, which—like Grounghog Day—happens without explanation or unbelievable deux ex machina. However, that forty-five minutes is totally uninteresting and struggles to maintain any sort of narrative momentum. If we're supposed to think Boni's initiation into this company is high drama, then the whole film is a complete failure. Fortunately, interest does perk up when she starts zipping back in time. Unfortunately, her activities while looping aren't that exciting either. Boni discoves more about her co-workers' lives, gets depressed, and generally acts nicer, but that's about it. There exist few highs and lows to Boni's experiences, which makes for some pretty unexciting viewing.
     What Bless the Child really lacks (Aside from some rolls of film—down with video!) is a sense of humor. Not only does Boni NOT use her looping time for some "screw with the world" antics, but her experience is largely devoid of any humor. There are some attempts at heart, but it's all pretty mild stuff. That's probably the best way to describe this film: mild. It takes a foolproof premise, but refuses to have any real fun with it. Too bad Wong Jing doesn't work at B&S Films; some wacky hijinks might have been welcome. Furthermore, the details of the film feel tacked on and perfunctory, and the acting is nothing to write home about. Bless the Child does have some minor entertainment value thanks to its premise, and as video productions go, it's not the worst one out there. Sadly, most video productions pretty much suck. (Kozo 2003)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Modern Audio
Shot on Video
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles
 

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