Posted by: koolcampus | January 18, 2011

“HOMECOMING” (笑着回家) 2011 Movie Review. It’s one hilarious “BALIK KAMPUNG” adventure to CELEBRATE the annual FAMILY REUNION DINNER.

“AH NIU, I am your DAINTY MOTHER …..”

“Wah lan. I am WOMAN, HEAR me ROAR!”




Surprise, surprise ….

If you surf the internet for this name HOMECOMING, your findings might take you to one B-grade horror film.

Or you would arrive at a gay-genre feature bearing the same name.

There’s nothing original with this ambiguous word “HOMECOMING”, but this one hits closer to home.

Balik Kampung?

Yeah, during the Lunar festive season, every Chinese working in Kuala Lumpur would be flocking home to their respective provinces for that scrumptious reunion dinner, where every member of the family sits at the table with the patriah and matriah who preside over the glorious food spreads.

This is the once-a-year family time, folks.

Wanna “tikam” here?

It’s either one sweet BALIK KAMPUNG or SMILING ALL THE WAY HOME, which you prefer, leh?


Here’s a feature film with three heartwarming stories that are intertwined.

Sieve through the chaff and you get thespian actor JACK NEO attempting his cross-dressing best.  He plays a real “she” – as AH NIU’s mother.

It’s one thing to play a gender bending role but to play a full-blown woman with a face and fluffed body like JACK NEO?

If JACK NEO can get away playing a real dame, then all the women on this earth might as well be men in guise.

This is JACK NEO’s redemption exercise, with apologies, in a come-back role to prove that he still has the grit and the mettle, despite those awful sexual episodes he churned out in the press more than one year ago.

Sock it to him, tear him apart, but he’s back with aplomb – in one piece.

Welcome back, JACK NEO.

It’s mind over matter and never too late to have a second chance.

We know that the script has been specially crafted for you (JACK) to endear you to us, and you did penance in the movie by not just doing one good deed, but two.

As Karen Neo you sacrificed your winning lottery ticket of 8,000 dollars for an air ticket to help a teenage gal to return to Singapore for the LUNAR NEW YEAR.

Plus, your character gets to deliver a baby in a cab. Sweet.

We may forgive and forget, JACK. But we are still not sure we can love you yet.

Show us some.

Back to the three interlocking stories leading to the same destination –  everyone wants to ‘balik kampung’ or heading home to savor the annual reunion dinner and familiness.

We are introduced to all kinds of weird and comely characters that are here so that you can laugh yourself into stitches.

There is this “don’t-you-mess-with-me” Hong Kong Chef  (MARK LEE) who is a control freak, but yet he cannot get his own daughter to understand why he has so little time for her.  A nice example of familiarity breeding contempt. Story One.

Then we have this giddy-eyed sweet damsel (REBECCA LIM) who has butterflies in her tummy because she is due to meet her future in-laws at their first reunion dinner. (Story Two)

Finally, we have the bosomy ‘ma nenek’ (naggy woman) played by JACK NEO who’s returning to Kuala Lumpur by coach with her son AH NIU.  She just cannot let things be and gets into all kinds of scraps and escapades. (Story Three)

Naturally, it’s all well that ends well.

We have one happy ending where the warmth, tears and joy are rolled, set in and shared,when everyone sits down and enjoys the new year spread.

Curtain call ….

It’s family time.


The casting of  Malaysian ace comedian AFDLIN SHAUKI as a well-meaning, but blundersome taxi driver is as good as you can get.

He grunts, rants and squeals and brings the house down with his unintended idiosyncrasies.

AH NIU is excellent as a ‘blur” blob who’s alway ever tolerant of his insufferable mother (JACK NEO). He wears the cheeky, benign look.

It’s been reported that his days as a singer may have hit a rut these days, and he is focusing on an alternative career as a comedian.

He’s good.

Strong dramatic performances from the Singapore actors JACK NEO and MARK LEE ensure HOMECOMING as a wonderful feel-good comedy.

And the pretty leading ladies – JACELYN TAY,  REBECCA LIM and KOE YEET earned our rapturous adoration for their superb acting.

Specific mention must be made here about LEE THEAN-JEEN the Singapore based film director who delivers a commendable job of pulling artistes from both sides of the causeway to render a refreshing story of warmth and sunshine to usher in the Chinese New Year.

His visual treatment is splendid.

We are drawn immediately into the celebratory festive mood by an uplifting Lunar New Year music score, the moment the movie starts.

Camera tracks leading lady JACELYN TAY as she saunters into her restaurant whilst negotiating a deal on her mobile.

In the closing scene of the film, the significance of family bonding is apparent when everyone at the table is in a jolly mood to toss the ‘loh hei”.

As the condiments fly into the air, the camera closes on and freezes, capturing an endearing moment of bliss to usher in the Chinese New Year.

“HOMECOMING” is a delightful film, aptly put.

Wah lau, and lest this Reviewer forget, here’s wishing all CHINESE on earth:


“HOMECOMING” is jointly-produced by:

Homerun Asia, Double Vision, J Team Productions, SIMF Management and Tanshern.

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