Tuesday, July 15, 2014

AFFD 2014 Review: FUNNY MONEY- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Thien Do
Written by Thien Do
Starring: Van Trang and Khuong Ngoc
Synopsis: A man is in the search for a lost bill which is bringing bad luck to a local girl. 

It's funny how one person can see an object as good luck, while someone else only sees it as bad luck. When a person loses a valuable object, and all of a sudden a bunch of bad things happen, they connect the two occurrences, even if it's only a coincidence. FUNNY MONEY explores this idea of how an object could bring you luck or curse you.

Loc (Ngoc) is a entrepreneur of sorts. He creates fake products, like handbags, shoes, and "ghost money" for loved ones to use in the afterlife. He has had a string of good luck thanks to a bill that's been ripped. But now he's lost that bill, and it has fallen into the hands of Quyen (Trang), a local young woman who works at a flower shop. However, the ripped bill curses Quyen, or so she thinks. She lost her job, boyfriend, and has other strings of misfortune. Loc is enamored with Quyen, but she doesn't feel the same.

The strength in this film lies with the two leads. They're charming, quirky, and have fantastic chemistry. Trang is the perfect blend of energy and spunk as Quyen. Even though she is very upset when her boyfriend dumps her, she still comes across as an independent woman determined to pick up her life. It would have been easy for her character to be helpless and whiney, but she thankfully ends up being much more dynamic. Ngoc initially feels like an almost sleazy salesman. But as we follow him as he pursues Quyen, he becomes more and more sweet and charming. His sleaziness goes away, and we see his more lovable side, which Quyen is able to bring out of him.

In terms of plot, the story begins to drag a little in the middle. It's a little unclear of where exactly the film is taking us. Then, in the final act, the biggest plot development of the film happens. This brought some much needed life to the story, but it came a little too late. If this development had come a little earlier, it would have created some much needed tension because searching for a ripped bill can only be interesting for so long.

FUNNY MONEY has enough going for it with the two leads to keep the film sweet and entertaining. It has some funny moments, and even if it lulls a bit in the middle half, it's worth a viewing.

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