In a society wildly obsessed with foreign brands, foreign artistes, foreign films and even foreign talents, local productions usually take a backseat to Hollywood blockbusters. The writer has to confess that he had been so myopic as to share such a view until he caught Jack Neo’s latest production, “I Not Stupid Too” (INSToo). INSToo is not a film with intricate twists or messages hidden beneath cryptic and arty storylines that requires one to wrack one’s brain over. Instead, INSToo tastefully (proponents of perfect language will disagree for vernaculars and dialects are extensively employed throughout the film) and deftly presented the grim reality plaguing contemporary society that threatens to weaken the very foundation of families and forever sever communication between the young and old.
More than being just a drama/comedy, the film explores pertinent issues extensively in our contemporary society that requires the immediate attention of all children, students, parents and educators. Throughout the film, one (assuming one is local) would find many scenarios extremely and hauntingly familiar. Suddenly, it appears that we are not alone and the disease that inflicts our society, more specifically our families and education system, is pandemic.
INSToo explores the issue of public caning in schools extensively through the public caning of Tom in an incident that is somewhat reminiscent of the Ho Poh Fun (Angry RJC teacher caught on video) incident 3 years ago, albeit on a much more serious scale. Like the students in the film, I too was made to witness public caning at least twice in two different institutions over the past 12 years of education. Desensitisation must have worked wonders. I now wonder why I had, like the students in the film, so docilely sit through the entire gruesome process twice. Should I be coerced into witnessing another of such barbaric act, I would stand up and leave the place.
A major point that Jack Neo tries to put forth is the irony in how acts of love and care by children, parents and educators end up irking each other. The love manifested by parents to children, children to parents and educators to students are unequivocal and clearly manifested throughout the film but always ignored by the receiving party. MOE, for instance, is plagued by exasperated teachers who are extremely dedicated yet at the same time exceedingly inadequate in dissemination.
I teared while watching the prequel during a screening at my alma mater. I teared again while watching the sequel, but I was not alone. Sniffles could be heard from people all around me despite attempts to hold them back. Many heart-wrenching (and warming) moments revolving around the family would inevitably send most to tears.
The soundtrack has an uncanny semblance to Jay Chou’s music, but is in the right direction for the first time ever in a Jack Neo’s production.
Students, parents and educators, do yourselves a favour and catch this movie.