Mama’s Affair review – star vehicle for Cantopop idols Mirror is for boyband fans only

·2 min read

Hotly awaited as the big screen debut for pop idols Keung To and Jer Lau, members of the boyband sensation Mirror, Kearen Pang’s sophomore effort has a cross-generational appeal, as it revolves around the challenges faced by a housewife’s return to the workforce.

After giving up a successful career as a record company executive to raise a family, Mei-fung (Teresa Mo) grows dissatisfied with a marriage that is falling apart, and a distant relationship with her hardworking but reticent 17-year-old son Jonathan (Jer Lau). Thanks to her past contacts, Mei-fung gingerly steps back into the entertainment world, as she starts working at a small arts centre for kids. A chance encounter with Fong Ching (Keung To), a young delivery guy with killer moves and an angelic voice, compels Mei-fung to take the aspiring singer under her wing as his manager. As Fong Ching’s popularity skyrockets, the gap between Mei-fung and Jonathan, whose artistic aspirations went unnoticed by his mother, gradually widens to spark explosive fights.

Though enjoyable as fan service, the conspicuous number of musical performances from Keung To eclipses the central exploration of the music industry and family politics, which remains disappointingly shallow. Fong Ching’s meteoric rise, for instance, is sketchily chronicled; there is little commentary on the corporate machine that lies behind pop success stories. On par with the bland visuals, Fong Ching’s concert near the end barely registers as emotional catharsis: his performances are clumsily edited together with key scenes from the film. Teresa Mo’s measured performance, in spite of the cliche-ridden dialogue, is the real highlight of a film that is otherwise an empty star vehicle best enjoyed by fans.

• Mama’s Affair is in cinemas from 19 August.