Goodbye Mr Loser review: Cheap knock-off with familiar story

Ian Fang thinks he looks too boyish to play protagonist roles in home-grown dramas.
Ian Fang thinks he looks too boyish to play protagonist roles in home-grown dramas.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES

REVIEW / COMEDY

GOODBYE MR LOSER (PG13)

106 minutes/Opens tomorrow/2.5/5 stars

The story: In the present day, struggling musician Yi Bai (Ian Fang) attends the wedding of his former high-school crush Xiao Wei. He ends up drunk and makes a fool of himself in front of his wife Ah Hua (Hoon Mei Sim) and their friends. He gets a chance to do things right when he is transported back to 1999 and finds a way to become rich and famous - but at a cost. Originally a hit 2015 Chinese comedy, which was based on a 2013 play of the same name.

This is a cut-rate version of youth comedy romance You Are The Apple Of My Eye (2011), one complete with ersatz celebrities. Though to be fair, they managed to get an impersonator who can pretty much pass off as a young A-mei.

 

For the most part though, this feels like a cheap knock-off that never quite passes off for the real thing. The jokes are of the lame and lamer variety and the story has a whiff of the familiar about it. Indeed, the Chinese film was accused of pilfering from the 1986 American movie Peggy Sue Got Married.

At least Mediacorp actor Fang acquits himself well enough. He is committed to his role, whether that means commanding attention in a classroom with his outrageous actions or donning dreadlocks as a professional singer.

Malaysian singer-actress Hoon is quite fun as the feisty Ah Hua, but really, there is little that is fresh or surprising about how Yi Bai's relationship with her develops.

There is one cute idea here as having travelled back in time, Yi Bai realises that all the hit songs he knows have yet to be written in 1999, a fact that he uses to his advantage.

Director Adrian Teh (The Wedding Diary, 2012) also has something to say about cherishing one's true love, but really, you could see where this was going right from the start.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2017, with the headline 'Cheap knock-off with familiar story'. Print Edition | Subscribe