Friday, November 10, 2006


Cine Europa
Shang Cineplex
November 9 - 19, 2006

Lucky Manuelo

This is a light hearted comedy from Belgium, the land of the Manneken Pis, (Belgian) waffles and where I grew up for a considerable period in my youth (in Brussels, its capital).

This movie though is set in a Flemish town and its tag line poses the question "How far are you willing to go to become a star?" Apparently for Jean, a factory worker, he is willing to do a lot for his teenage daughter, Marva. His method was accidentally drastic but it was never ill intentioned in the first place, he simply wanted his plump daughter to become a pop star. Marva is a regular at karaoke contests impersonating singers like Vanessa Paradis (Johnny Depp's French singer/actress wife) and Madonna. She is downright ridiculous complete with ill fitting costumes so she never bags the grand prize. She has a lovely singing voice though but simply lacks the confidence and charisma befitting a pop star given that she is eh rotund. Her (stage) father on the other hand keeps pushing her to develop her gifted talent to the fore, much to Marva's chagrin.

This is a funny little movie about a father's deep affection for his talented daughter. There are chuckles moments as well as some really hilarious scenes on people who join these contests dressed up in full regalia singing their hearts out. But this film isn't just about singing contests, there are endearingly well developed characters and it has a concise plot. A few "Eurovision" like songs also provide background music to this Flemish film. I will guarantee you will be humming the catchy song "Lucky Manuelo" as you exit the theater. An emotional somehow corny sequence to tug at your heartstring caps the whole film. But overall it is about overcoming your fears, about being triumphant despite all the odds and about believing in yourself or in this case a father believing with all his heart that his daughter is a star in every sense of the word.

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