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Where is Mama's Boy?

Some of the players from Where is Mama's Boy:
Nancy Sit (top left), William Hung (top center), Yoyo Mung (top right).
Shaolin Soccer actors (bottom left), old school actors (bottom center), Best Actor (bottom right).

AKA: My Crazy Mother
Chinese: 我亞媽發仔瘟  
Year: 2005
Director: Steve Cheng Wai-Man
Producer: Sharon Yeung Pan-Pan
Cast: Nancy Sit Ka-Yin, William Hung, Yoyo Mung Ka-Wai, Wong Yat-Fei, Tien Niu, Tin Kai-Man, Lam Chi-Chung, Chan Kwok-Kwan, Belinda Hamnett, Natalie Ng Man-Yan, Lily Lee Ka-Yee, Margaret Chung Lai-Kei, Siu Lung, Bun Yeung, Chen Kuan-Tai, Chan Wai-Man, Lau Wing
The Skinny: Crap with a capital "C". Relatively speaking, Where is Mama's Boy is actually better than the absolute lowest expectations it automatically warrants. However, a score of 1 out of a 100 is still pretty bad. If you must watch this film, then prepare to suffer the consequences. Featuring William Hung. 'Nuff said.
by Kozo:

Hong Kong Cinema hits a new low with the largely average costume action comedy Where is Mama's Boy? By largely average, we mean the film is a random mishmash of typical costume comedy elements, i.e. musical numbers, swordplay, assorted bathroom humor, movie parodies, half-baked romantic storylines, and general silliness. Normally this type of filmmaking would get an "ehhh" as its official evaluation, as it's complete fluff that's likely charming to undemanding audiences or people who simply don't know better. The straw that breaks this camel's back: William Hung. The "popular" UC Berkeley engineering student who rose to "fame" on American Idol shows up in a pivotal role. It's official: Armageddon is upon us.

Nancy Sit stars as Aunt Huan, the proprietor of the massage-and-song Music Fantasy. While decked out like your standard costume comedy brothel, the Music Fantasy is a strictly no nookie zone. Guys get smacked and thrown out by kung-fu kicking girls if they ever get fresh - an understandable offense when girls like Belinda Hamnett and Yoyo Mung are on the staff. Aunt Huan has other issues: she's looking for her long-lost son, who's supposed to have a mole on his foot. Huan's sister (Tien Niu) has it in for her, and hires a group of losers (Shaolin Soccer vets Tin Kai-Man, Lam Chi-Chung, and Chan Kwok-Kwan) to sow discord at Music Palace. Plus there's an idiotic dope out there called Ma Chongyang (William Hung), who also goes by the name Siu Bang (or "Little Cake"). Siu Bang could also be Huan's son. Or maybe not - but since he's such a sweet, positive fellow, Aunt Huan begs him to be her son anyway. If you must retch, now's the time.

There are two parts of Where is Mama's Boy to look at. The first part is the standard costume comedy stuff, which is loaded with the typical signifiers, i.e. parodies of popular films (the lawyers of Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and Kill Bill are officially on notice), questionably interesting comedy, and by-the-numbers swordplay. The total package is pretty tepid stuff, and the performers are either slumming (Yoyo Mung, please go back to television or Johnnie To), uninteresting (most of the other girls), past their prime (old school martial arts stars Chen Kuan-Tai and Lau Wing show up), or wasting their energy (Nancy Sit actually appears to act, and Tien Niu is amusingly evil). If this movie had been released during the early nineties, it could have received a quick shrug before fading into obscurity. As a standard genre entry, Where is Mama's Boy? is not a good film, but it's also not the worst thing you'll ever find. It's lame stuff, but so inconsequential that getting angry would probably require too much energy.

Ah, but then there's the second part of Where is Mama's Boy?: William Hung. Just casting the astoundingly untalented Hung should guarantee the filmmakers a spot in the Hong Kong Cinema Hall of Shame, but Hung's performance and character make a case for capital punishment. Not only is Siu Bang the nicest, most generous fellow around, but his goodness is actually supposed to be an inspiration to people. Siu Bang can also talk to the animals ala Dr. Doolittle, and everywhere he goes people clap at his crappy Cantonese singing. Siu Bang's signature song is about little cakes, so the lyrics include a chorus of "Siu Bang, Siu Bang", which sounds like Ricky Martin's "She Bangs". That song and its fallout were the official start of this nightmare of American pop culture, which is more than enough reason to snatch this DVD out of your player, break it across your knee, then pay the replacement cost from Blockbuster Video. To take it a step further, you should simply pirate this film. That's right: I'm urging you to break the law. If the producers of Where is Mama's Boy? take a bath on this one, then there could be justice in this world.

Oddly, the worst thing about Where is Mama's Boy? is it's simply not bad enough. Had this been a totally craptacular film, one could almost justify having it on the shelf as kind of a trophy of the truly terrible. But Where is Mama's Boy? is just boring and bad, and is rendered unwatchable by William Hung's not-ready-for-summer-camp-skit acting. If you thought Hung couldn't sing, then wait until you get a load of his acting. The Hungmeister's wooden delivery, obvious double takes, and "get him off the screen" charisma all add up to a movie that could cause untold emotional stress, and possible recurring nightmares. It's also stuff that should never be seen again, and if you decide to whip out the DVD at a party to amuse your friends, they better be A) hellaciously drunk, B) people you wish to alienate, or C) the most forgiving people on the planet. Really, this whole thing is just a waste of time and energy, because ripping on Wililam Hung is like picking on the slowest kid in class. Hung is probably a nice guy, and if his "inspirational" messages are to be believed, he has the character of Buddha to go along with the same chubby cheeks. However, Hung has also set back the cause of Asians in American by about forty years, and if this film ever goes stateside, he may bring Hong Kong down with him. Where is Mama's Boy? tanked at the box office, but that's not good enough. Hong Kong Cinema needs a do over. Now. (Kozo 2005)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Kam and Ronson
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
"Making of" featurette, optional motion sickness bag

images courtesy of Kam and Ronson Enterprise Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen