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The Midas Touch
The Midas Touch

Chapman To and Charlene Choi in The Midas Touch.
Chinese: 超級經紀人  
Year: 2013  
Director: Fung Chih-Chiang
Producer: Fung Chih-Chiang, Chan Hing-Kai, Albert Lee

Fung Chih-Chiang, Chan Hing-Kai, Ho Miu-Ki, Ng Wing-Shan

Cast: Chapman To Man-Chat, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Christie Chen, Alice Li, Angela Hui, Jennifer Zhang, Venus Wong Man-Yik, Jie Zhuang, Una Xie, Wong Cho-Lam, Jenny Lau Wai-Suen, Gao Yunxiang, Gillian Chung Yun-Tung, Eric Kwok Wai-Leung, Law Wing-Cheong, He Jiong, Louis Cheung Kai-Chung, Deep Ng Ho-Hong, Lo Hoi-Pang, Yumiko Cheng Hei-Yi, 6 Wing, Stephanie Che Yuen-Yuen, Derek Kwok Chi-Kin, Law Chi-Leung, Tyson Chak Hoi-Tai, Steven Cheung Chi-Hung, Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung, Vincy Chan Wing-Yee, Mani Fok Man-Hei, Hins Cheung King-Hin, Ryan Lam, Johnny Choi, Masaki Heung, Ma Yuk-Sing
The Skinny: An odd EEG-funded look at the star-making biz that lacks interesting characters and content. There's a good movie somewhere in here, but for some reason the filmmakers decided not to make it. Chapman To + Charlene Choi = surprisingly not that much.
by Kozo:

EEG-produced The Midas Touch aims for commercial mediocrity but doesn’t even accomplish that. Directed and co-written by Fung Chih-Chiang (The Bounty), the film stars Chapman To as Makkie, a debt collector who assumes responsibility for eight aspiring starlets when a talent manager (Louis Cheung) defaults on his loan. Unfortunately, inexperienced manager Makkie and the girls start the long road to respectability on the wrong foot. The group tackily crashes a press event for idol J Dragon (Gao Yunxiang), earning them notoriety but not respect or fame. J Dragon’s manager, Suen Mei-Mei (Charlene Choi), thinks Makkie and his girls are cheap, but she ends up joining them after she’s sacked by J Dragon for – creepily enough – spying on him via an enormous one-way mirror installed between their adjacent flats. Her obsessive stalking exposed, Suen must help Makkie promote his fledgling girl group (now totaling seven after one defects to act in an “art film”) which they’ve named OMG for “Oh My Girls”. Will OMG be the next SNSD or will they end up SOL?

Ambitious, this movie is not. The Midas Touch offers the promise of a girl group variation on A Star is Born, but delivers much, much less. This is basically a Frankenstein combo of illogical farce, zero-to-hero story and sketch comedy, with a framing device and voiceover employed to tie the whole thing together. It’s a generic but acceptable story about starry-eyed girls and their irascible manager, with your expected maudlin moments extolling dreams, friendship and the importance of having pride – or at least enough self-respect to recognize the difference between prancing around onstage and taking your clothes off in a film. Unfortunately, the story lacks consistent – or really any – development. The plot turns are perfunctory, like road signs on a highway, with the road itself a morass of pot holes, divergent paths and unnecessary clutter. After 98 minutes of tepid hee-haws, the story ends almost exactly as you expect it would. However, the journey itself is only minimally engaging.

Sympathy or care for the girls would be a plus, but they’re sketched only superficially and are hard to tell apart. The girls are distinguished mainly by their quirks (one barks like a dog, one is a belly dancer), with few standouts besides Christie Chen, who plays belching martial arts expert Peggy. Making her more memorable is her amusing but incongruent boyfriend, played by Wong Cho-Lam in an oddly douchey manner. Sadly, even the lead characters make no sense. Makkie is a small-time gangster who for unexplained reasons will protect these girls at great financial and personal risk. Chapman To turns in a signature performance, meaning he’s crass and likable, but the film can’t support his character. The same goes for Charlene Choi: Not only is Suen Mei-Mei innately unlikeable, her redemption is never explained or justified. Mei-Mei starts out disrespecting of the girls and ends up supporting them wholeheartedly, but nothing occurs to justify the change. Likewise, the hinted romance between Makkie and Mei-Mei never develops into anything the audience would root for.

The biggest disappointment with The Midas Touch is its wasted potential. There’s plenty to skewer in Hong Kong’s recklessly fast and egregiously shallow entertainment industry, and EEG lends many of their stars for cameos, including Nicholas Tse, Gillian Chung, EEG celebrity talent manager Mani Fok and one of the guys from Boy’z. Sadly, the cameos are just for audiences to exclaim “Hey, it’s Ah Gil!” rather than poke fun at the Cantopop scene or HK filmmaking industry. This isn’t to say that the filmmakers should have thrown EEG under the bus for a satirical showbiz tell-all, but a smarter sense of humor about the business of star-making would have added some edge to a film sorely lacking any. As is, this is a bland trifle that’s only tolerable because it’s so unpretentious and inconsequential. The Midas Touch is not good but it’s not insulting, so just forgetting about it is an easy thing to do. It helps if you’re doing something else when you watch it. (Kozo, 11/2013)



DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Vicol Entertainment, Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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