"Sonija Kwok-Can she improve? I hope so, because I am tired of repeating how bad she is..."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Deciphering The Title
"Juet sai hou ba", meaning The Greatest Father. Interesting title which I wonder, why don't TVB just use the direct translation as the English title? Sounds way better than Family Man.
Modern day family drama set in Hong Kong
No. Of Episodes
Paul Chun - Ko Hoi
Jay Lau - Ko Yuk Yee aka Wasabi aka Dai Mui
Flora Chan - Ko Pui Yee aka Tracy aka Yee Mui
Sonija Kwok - Ko Bo Yee aka Bobo aka Sam Mui
Myolie Wu - Ko Chui Yee aka Polly aka Sai Mui
Moses Chan - Siu Hin Wah aka Kelvin aka Siu Cong Zhi
Michael Tong - Tai Kwong Ming
So Chi Wai - Wai Chung Kit aka Kit Lo
Tsang Wai Kuen - Hui Shing Chi aka Ken
Cheng Chi Seng - Lui Lik aka Nick
Mok Ka Yiu
(Taken from Black Eyed Susan's review)
One father, dead mother, 4 daughters of different personalities, many men.
Paul Chun, a musician in the HK police force is the father (also a widower) of 4 grown daughters, Jan the eldest and married to So and who works as a beautician, Flora owner of a toy company who is the second daughter once dating Tsang Wai Kuen who ran away due to personal reasons, Sonija Kwok a writer who is the third daughter who is opinionated and fell for Moses Chan, Flora's assistant and who has a crush on Flora and Myolie Wu is the youngest and still studying who seems to be always in love, and who fell for Michael Tong, Moses' best friend, flat mate and who he himself has a crush on Sonija. Father remained unmarried.
A widower brought up all 4 of his daughters who wished to see them married to good men as well as leading happy successful lives..
Eldest Daughter - Jan
Eldest daughter though married to high school sweetheart, So who is now the owner of a small transport company is dissatisfied with her husband and the husband became unhappy as his wife was controlling his every move. Both realising they do not have any feelings for each other anymore decided to divorce and remained closer friends than when they were married. Jan considered being the mistress of a rich Japanese fellow whilst So began dating with an impossibly perfect pretty girl who turned out to be a psycho. When Jan realised she still loved her husband, she changed her ways and attempted to win back his heart, only to be cruelly dismissed as So was afraid his psycho girlfriend, Shu Mei may harm her. So how will it all end?
Second Daughter - Flora
A career woman, she formed a successful toy company with her boyfriend, Tsang whi ran away one day without any explanation. She took on Moses as her assistant and they worked well. When Moses realised he was falling for her and was about to confess on her birthday, Tsang came back begging for forgiveness which she did. The only skeptic was Sonija, the headstrong and unforgiving one. He then proposed and Flora agreed. But as time goes by, Flora realised she began to love him less. When Moses accepted Sonija's love and they were dating, she found out that Moses had always has a crush on her and she felt awkward, but did not return Moses' love. Instead she broke off her engagement. Tsang realised she was in love with Moses though she didn't know. He told Moses that and in return Moses was stuck in a dilemma as he was dating Sonija who was clearly wrong for him and yet he loved Flora.
Third Daughter - Sonija
An opinionated and independent writer, Sonija was the headstrong and temperamental one, always at odds with her fellow colleague, Cheng and her subordinates who hated her for her efficiency and demands for perfection. She disliked Moses and his best friend and fellow flat mate, Michael at first but when she got to know them more, she realised they're good people. In fact Michael, the small town boy from China who studied a lot and who knew a lot more things than both Sonija and Moses was always helping her and was in love with her, but Sonija didn't know and saw him as a friend. When she finally confessed her love to Moses who reluctantly accepted her love thinking Flora was not meant to be, their relationship was difficult to begin with. Both had different tastes, Sonija demanded more out of Moses who seemed unwilling to compromise, and at last Moses suggested they part ways when he realised he could not forget Flora. She agreed but when she later found out Moses was actually in love with Flora and she thought she saw them hugging in a room, she was so angry, she shouted at her sister. She felt betrayed. But she found Michael to console her. As she went home, she continued to argue with Flora and was so stubborn, Flora felt at lost for words.
A playful young student who is irresponsible and who sees everything as a game. When she fell for Michael and Michael told her openly they're not possible, she felt awkward but later they remained as friends. But when Michael thought she was pregnant, she went along with the game, causing huge misunderstanding and her father ended up punching Michael and Michael feeling like a fool. When the whole family scolded her, she became unreasonable and screamed to leave the house. At the same time Flora and Sonija's "cold war" was escalating and Jan was depressed at her husband's cruel treatment of her. As 4 of them who generally had a good relationship bickered, pushed and scolded one another, his father begging them to stop fainted. Once at the hospital, their father begged for peace and still they went home bickering, with Flora, the mild mannered one trying to calm everybody down. When everybody was calmed down, Sonija and Flora, who always shared a closer bond with one another than with the other 2 sisters began to laugh again and all 4 of them say down to cook, talking and laughing.
And then tragedy struck.
SPOILERS ALERT! SPOILERS ALERT!
The father was later diagnosed with heart problem. As the daughters were all ready to leave HK for various reasons, none of them could leave with their father sick. But their father decided to go for the operation and if he were to die they must let him go peacefully. So as Flora organised the toy expo with her father still in surgery, each daughter and potential son in laws were worried. Then they went to the hospital and much to their delight, their father was ok. And then some time has passed and each daughter pursued their careers elsewhere with their men. Flora ended up with Moses who went with her to Germany, So with Jan (as the psycho fell for Sonija's no. 1 enemy and poor guy, last seen with a broken neck, fractured hand and fractured leg!) went to China, Sonija with Michael to China as well and Myolie to Japan. Paul was later transferred to clerical work and spent his days alone and lonely. And then all his children came back either engaged, graduated with excellent marks or pregnant. Some time has passed again, Flora married Moses and both has a son, Michael and Sonija also married, So and Jan became proud parents to twins and dear old Paul was very happy that all his daughters were happy. As they had picnic, the laughter filled the park to a joyous and sugar coated end.
The summary and plot above was very easy to write, probably because the story is very easy to "digest". There aren't any real drama in here, nothing to stretch your emotions or would make you huff and puff except for one performance by a lead actress. The characters may at times seem like cardboard characters, seen them, heard them, the plot all too familiar and the ending too sugar coated. I didn't expect for the story to be different though it was nice to see it from a viewpoint of a father raising 4 daughters. But this story has been done better, to a better effect (in the sense of a father's love for his child) in A Moment Of Endearment, who starred the same Paul Chun as the over protective father to Miriam Yeung's very young character who married Nick Cheung. I find A Moment Of Endearment more effective in the father-daughter story.
Family Man is very deceptive in the sense the entire story has little to do with father-daughters and more about daughters-boyfriends-love problems with the father offering wise words and show of concern once in a while. I was hoping to see more of Paul Chun's father role stretched to show a very close knit and loving relationship, the difficulties he faced and much more. We get some of that but much too much of the time has been wasted on each daughter's love-capade (as in escapades), I find at times this series as overcrowded, noisy, boring and rather long winded. It is true to say this is one series you can categorise each scene and fast forward to your favourite ones. I missed a few, saw a few and yet I still know the story, I didn't miss much. Oh, I did miss much, but nothing I would fret about since most of the scenes I missed was Sonija Kwok's. But one thing is very real in this series; the relationship between all 4 daughters. I myself has two elder sisters and two elder brothers. I find myself somewhat like Myolie Wu's character, though not as playful and treating everything like a game. My second sister is a bit like Flora, always the mediator and my eldest sister reminds me of a combination of the eldest daughter and the 3rd daughter, especially all the bad points. As they bickered, it's very real. The eldest is always at odds with the youngest (like I and my eldest sister) and the 2nd is always closer to the 3rd whilst the 1st to the 3rd will take all opportunities and all situations to connect something out of place to the youngest daughter's fault (always the case, such as I which makes me realise I did respond like the youngest when being lectured, being very angry since frankly I am too tired to hear lectures from imperfect beings, but this series is a tad different as the youngest deserved to be lectured for her irresponsibility). Interesting aspect of course.
Is it so hard to find 4 actresses who look alike? This series is as if 4 women being born out of 4 different mothers but with the same father! All of them looked so distinctly different! Can't Maggie Cheung and Tavia Yeung be in one series together? What about Charmaine Sheh and Shirley Yeung? Why not ask Bernice Liu to be Sonija's sister? I can't overlook this blatant mistake. Is it so difficult to find someone who looks like or possesses certain similar features?
The sugar coated ending. I disliked the scenes where Moses didn't know how to confess to Flora and Flora leaving. I can't understand why must the series be so dramatic? Why must Moses not show up at the airport BUT show up in the PLANE? And is leaving HK and migrating/working in another country that easy? Again the ending was perhaps the worst, but not as bad as Sonija Kwok's non existing acting. How Paul suddenly faced the camera and starting talking to the audiences, which made this series all too preachy. That scene where Flora and sisters delivered a story about a father (their father) at the expo AT THE CHILDREN STORYTELLING COMPETITION was way uncalled for; must TVB be so darn sentimental to the point of over-sentimentalising the whole tragedy? I disliked that. And the ending. But it is nice to note a father like Paul is lucky because he not only has 4 daughters, he gained 3 good son in laws! This series will show good men are still out there my friends!
If you can find no satisfaction in the story though, perhaps some of the characters may prove interesting to watch.
For one, Moses Chan's character, Gentleman Siu as his best friend called him. He is not those macho man but rather, playful and often misunderstood as not serious type of person. But he is serious, forgiving and very helpful. I really enjoyed watching this character, in all the funny situations and I understood his dilemma in being stuck between two sisters. Clearly though he loved the 2nd one. At times he may seemed unfair in his treatment to the 3rd sister, at times I do wonder how I could like such a person who dragged his feet in love and carelessly and simply choose a present without much thought for his girlfriend's birthday and yet could be so concerned for the 2nd sister? But I still like him, and the way he apologised to the father for the misery he had caused, it showed that he is still a gentleman, though confused. But you can't say he is undecided, he actually decided but he didn't know how to break it to both of them. Some may say what a scum! when Tsang told him Flora loved him and he suddenly looked to Flora again. Can't blame him, matters of the heart is quite selfish sometimes.
Another character I liked watching is So, who is so scared of his wife, and devices all sort of methods to rekindle his wife's passion in their love but failed. I especially enjoyed the manic moments he had with his new perfect girlfriend, Shu Mei who can cook, has Masters degree, is gorgeous, learned, sweet, knows Kung Fu and who turned out to be imperfect. It was fun to watch as he was stuck in his dilemma and showed how much concern he had for his ex wife when he pushed her away, deliberately scolding her so that Shu Mei won't hurt her.
Paul Chun's character is also one character I enjoyed watching, as he lovingly and tirelessly tried to be fair to all his daughters, giving each equal love. But I can't help but feel that he loved Flora a little more, as Flora showed more concern than others did. As he tried to set his daughters' up with men, especially Flora with his superior, it was very funny. And his almost father-son relationship with Gentleman Siu is touching at times, funny at most times, especially where they go about arranging Flora's wedding with Tsang.
Most Disliked Character
Sonija Kwok's 3rd sister. On one part because of Sonija Kwok herself and the other because this character is so unreasonable, especially when she just took Moses' plane and smashed it to pieces without checking out what was going on. Or the way she screamed at Flora without hearing Flora's explanation. About how she always ran to Michael, expecting to find a shoulder to cry on and yet stupid enough not to realise that man was in love with her. Really annoying character.
Most Favourite Scene(s)
Mostly Moses Chan's scenes. Hoping my memory did not fail me, one scene which I liked was when he came over to Paul's house, and he casually asked Paul;
"What can I do to help?"
And Paul casually answered, "Oh, there's a broken window ..."
And he replied; "I didn't mean that, I am not hear to fix things..."
And Paul looked embarrassed before Moses said "I was just joking!"
It's funny because Paul just assumed he is here to fix things and Moses said it in such a light hearted way I knew he didn't mean what he replied. A very funny scene.
Another very funny scene was when the family was having a dinner get-together. One lady from Flora's office is secretly in love with Paul Chun and she gate crashed the party, without any invitation and began helping with the cooking and all. Everybody knew she liked Paul but Paul didn't. And so when Moses and Paul was talking, Paul confessed he will miss his 4 daughters very much when they are married. Moses suddenly turned serious and said; "Well you have 5 daughters!" and Paul looked confused. I was confused and then Moses pointed to the woman walking towards the kitchen. He was pointing at that lady who gate-crashed the party! It was very very funny scene.
As for the scene everybody went raving about where the father told a sob story about a tree and all four daughters cry, personally to me it's effective but not my most favourite scene. Though the story was interesting. And thanks to Black Eyed Susan, I know now somebody in TVB actually reads! Interesting poem! And I discover some actresses just can't cry for real.
Most Disliked Scene
Scenes of one particular actress, and the ending.
The themesong deserved a mention, well sung. Flora Chan is a fantastic singer and the guy is William So right? Nice song.
Generally well acted.
Paul Chun. Who else?
Most Improved Actor
He won this for Lok Sun which I thought was horrible acting. Moses Chan is not a very good dramatic actor, but surprisingly like Louis Koo, he has comic timing. Moses Chan is funny with his exaggerated facial expressions, cute antics and the way he talked, reminded me of a very naggy aunty, a bit like Michael Tao you know. Moses Chan must be given more comedic roles and less dramatic roles which showed his inability to emote well. But comedy is more difficult to do than drama and the fact that he is better at comedy speaks volume for his potential. At times he still looked like he is trying much too hard, and I don't think he is a very emotional person in real life, well at least he is trying unlike another actress who doesn't even bother at all. A good and satisfactory performance that will please his female fans and make the skeptics sit down and watch, like I.
So Chi Wai is cute and he gave an adequate performance as the husband of the eldest daughter. Not much comments for this once hip swaying Grasshopper. Can you imagine he was a Grasshopper? How time flies. Now married with children!
Most Improved Actress
Myolie Wu who has improved leaps and bounds since her first series. I think she did very well. I still think Doomed To Oblivion is her best work todate but who knows? As actress with her potential can only get better unless she is too preoccupied with fame. As she tearfully said in the 35th Anniversary show (2002) that she loves acting, I hope she will continue to have such a passion and not treat this as a one way ticket to a rich husband, money, endorsement or just a job. Only passion can make an actress a great one and Myolie Wu has it. I must admit though she is a bit too perky but she is not afraid to show her ugly side and frankly I disliked her character, the youngest daughter.
Most Interesting Actor
Cheng Chi Seng is a fine actor and he is so great at playing scums I can't quite get used to his nice guy roles (which is few). In here he has possibly one of the funniest endings I have ever seen on TV. Serves him right! Check out little snippets of him with Shu Mei and you will know why it's a humorous ending!
Most Expressionless Actress
I wonder what happened to Jan Lau? She used to be so very good, then I saw WTAP II and she looked haggard, tired and didn't care less. In this series she doesn't look like she is trying, she looks like something is bothering her, something is in her mind. She reminded me of a person who has emotional issues, or some addiction. Who knows? I hope to see her improve, get back to her old self but in this series she barely delivers. She seems unenthusiastic and that shows. A very bad performance.
Most Expressionless Actor
Was Michael Tong a miscast? This is a very different role. At last he got the girl, at last he plays someone simple minded but as usual, must very very capable in something. In here he plays a very intelligent but giving young man. His hairstyle bothered me, I disliked it at first look. He is expressionless in all his series but in here, he lacks the earnest natural niceness. Though he can portray intelligent man, but he does not possess a simple minded man's look. He looks like he has been through a lot. I guess his character in here has been through a lot, being poor, being alone. But the truth is Michael Tong looked like a gangster in here with that hairstyle of his and his performance lacked lustre, lacked energy. I won't say he is bad, I would say he is expressionless at times, boring to watch.
"Been There, Done That" Actress
Flora Chan has played TO DEATH career woman who is not very strong emotionally, that I missed her bitchy character from Healing Hands who again became at last emotionally very weak. It's boring for her and I feel boring for her. She won Most Favourite Actress in 2002 Anniversary show. Again that is a popularity contest, NOT a contest based entirely on merit. If on merit, her performance in this series should not have won her any award. I find her performance the usual, not bad, in fact effective performance but no breakthrough. Give her a villain or vampish role. Give her something different, PLEASE!
There is no worst actor in here, only one worst actress.
I read horrified that Sonija Kwok has improved leaps and bounds in this series. So she was more tolerable than the first, but frankly I can identify a few scenes where she really needs to buck up or just pack up. After such a long time in acting, always top billing, she can still be this bad. This cannot be, this must not be so and she must not be given any opportunity to butcher a role or our pleasure in watching any series with her in it. Let's go through the worst moments;
1. When she was confronted about the story of Elaine Yew's philandering husband, she was accused of many things by people she trusted and she resigned. How did she look? Nothing. Huff a bit , puff a bit and then nothing. Absolutely nothing.
2. When she discovered Moses loved her sister, she ran to the pier, and Michael was there to comfort her. Did I saw a smile on her lips when she tearfully screamed betrayal and then in her coy teary eyed said, "We are 'sisters' right? Lend me your shoulders". You have to watch this scene to know why if I am the director I would throw her into the sea. She is such a bad actress.
3. The scene where she confessed to loving Moses through some pipes, supposed to be romantic, supposed to be a very revealing scene, true emotions here and how she looked? Again that coy smile and nothing.
The problem with Sonija Kwok is more than her talent or her looks. Someone once told me she is very beautiful. I asked this person; "Can you stand watching this beautiful woman act?" and this person replied "Of course" and I asked "For how long?" and this person honestly replied "One series will do". I can't stand one series. She is lucky to be surrounded by others who could tolerate her inadequacies but I can't because she is the lead. Unless she is a comatose patient, with few flashbacks of her happier times, I can tolerate that. Not this.
Like I said, her problem is beyond looks or talent, both of which I will argue she has none. It's the way she delivers her lines. She talks like in real life, and most of the time she mumbles. She screams yes, but the way she screamed is like mumbling. Blame that on the lack of collagen in her thin lips. And her eyes seem cold, at times expressionless, most of time like she's not trying. Sometimes I pity her. She is always playing the evil one, the bad one, the vamp, someone with loads of faults. Worst still this actress is such a bad actress these faults are therefore magnified. It's so easy to hate the characters she plays, because her characters are one hateful bunch. But she herself made me hate her characters. I read with disbelief how many were praising her for her villain roles, frankly I have said this in my Lok Sun review and I will repeat it here, perhaps we think she did well because we hated her character, probably induced by the fact that she was such a bad performer.
Can she improve? I hope so, because I am tired of repeating how bad she is. To improve, she really needs to study acting or at least let go emotionally. Even if she did, she is still a bad actress but at least I can honestly say she is trying really hard. In all her performances, she took for granted that viewers will enjoy her performances. I care nothing for her gossips and her various boyfriends. I really don't care how badly she treated Shirley Yeung or how best of friends she is with Charmaine Sheh and how loving she is to Deric Wan. Frankly gossips does not alter my view of a person as an artiste, and actor. But when based solely on her performance and she gives me such bad acting like this and expect me as a viewer to accept this, I won't. I can't because then we have even worse actress. I want to set a high expectation, I want to set a standard. My standard for Sonija Kwok is "Please don't ruin this series, please oh please". Every time she appeared, I sat in disbelief, I couldn't believe she was still on air, in the TVs of millions everywhere.
An absolutely awful performance and to think she is now a veteran giving advice to new artistes. That is the ultimate horror story.
Irrespective of my comments for Sonija Kwok, both Moses Chan and Paul Chan saved the day with this rather light hearted series, pretending to have serious issues when there aren't any because inadequate screen time given to such issues. Overall an enjoyable series but nothing new to quench the thirst of those who expects something more. Fans of Moses Chan should definitely watch this series.
Interesting Blatant Mistake
I swear I am going to collect enough TV Mistakes to open my TV Mistakes page. There's one blatant one.
The end scene where Flora and Moses has a child. That's ok and then we see So and Jan's twins. If I remember correctly, Jan was pregnant even before Flora and Moses were married. So the twins must be older than Flora and Moses' child. The strange thing is that Flora and Moses' child is much much much bigger and older than the twins!! Did you notice that and did you notice other mistakes? Email me!
Rumours has it that Moses Chan is wooing Flora Chan. Or are they dating? As we all know Flora divorced her husband sometime ago and has been single since. She has been linked to other co-stars but nothing as serious as this one. I do think Moses Chan and Flora Chan would make a cute couple, because I think their background is similar. I can see chemistry and a certain spark between them and I do think the rumour is true, at least on the part of Flora Chan.
As for Flora Chan, I saw Lydia Shum's Behind The Fame and she was interviewed together with Gallen Lo (who seemed ill at ease) and Ada Choi (who seemed reluctant to answer). Quite a surprise to learn she is suffering from back ache and it's really bad. She didn't look like it. And when she talked about her divorce, she became very emotional and crying. Perhaps she didn't want to divorce but her husband insisted. She seemed classy, always covered when dressing, never anything revealing. And she seemed like a nice lady, truthful and with a sense of humour.
As for Sonija Kwok, I saw again the Lydia Shum's Behind The Fame episode and she was grilled about the many men in her life and how she regretted a bit of ending her first relationship to a man even Lydia Shum knew and declared a good man. Is there a person inside with connections? Anyway, she seemed very reluctant to answer and like in the 35th Anniversary show (2002), she deliberately tried not to answer and didn't give an intelligent cogent answer. I liked her less after that show as she looked pretentious. But Lydia Shum did cross the line by asking her about gossips. In fact the entire show was about gossips and like Sonija Kwok represented herself that day, nothing substantial and nothing thought provoking. I actually thought Anne Heung showed more grace and more intelligence when denying things whilst Charmaine was pretty and sweet, though still showed little grasp in the art of being interviewed. Sonija was downright horrible. So it's confirmed; she can't act and she can't answer a question decently. And she talked like when she is acting. So I guess Sonija in real life is a very unemotional person, perhaps empty and bland. But she has one redeeming quality; she has a very nice name; Sonija Kwok Sin Lei.
For girls : Will you go for your sister's boyfriend, though they broke up for whatever circumstances? You know he likes you.
I can't because of myself. I can't sit in one table with my BF and my sister, his ex-GF thinking she knew him as intimately that I did. I can't get over that fact and my ownself. Moreover there's only one sister whilst men are everywhere. Though my sister may encourage me to go for him, I won't because of my own moral threshold. What about you?
For boys: Will you go for your ex-girlfriend's sister when you broke up badly with your ex-girlfriend?
I am not a guy but if I am I am sure there are plenty of fishes in the pond, and it is a big pond so why fish in the same area?