Dummy Mommy Without a Baby (玉女添丁)

There must be a Discovery Health show about women who fake pregnancies, and I imagine reactions would include generous doses of condemnation, anger, and betrayal. Sympathy in these cases is best left for another series. But in Hong Kong, one can make an entire movie out of this deception with the end goal of championing the swindler, even – or especially – if that person happens to be Miriam Yeung.

In this unconventional underdog story, Fong Lai-Kuen (not to be confused with Yeung’s character of the same name in the Love Undercover series) feigns her pregnancy after getting the pink slip at her advertising firm. According to a curious Hong Kong law, a pregnant employee cannot be fired for a period of 10 months, so Kuen milks her new status for all it’s worth and enlists her good friend and colleague Dina (Niki Chow) to aid in the cover-up. The two try to use this stunt to get back at their villainous boss Monica (Pauline Yam), though most people would probably see Monica as a reasonably demanding superior with exceptional standards. Kuen is redeemed and the mean boss is put in her place when an actual expectant mother and athletic wear company owner Mrs. Ho (Eileen Cha) selects Kuen’s ad campaign for the Beijing Olympics. Mrs. Ho also chooses Kuen as the spokesperson because hey, moms-to-be buy basketball jerseys too. Their partnership leads to some close calls that we will call comedy, such as one involving a poolside ultrasound. Similar cheap and predictable laughs follow.

Amidst this set of hijinks is a chaste three way between Kuen, Dina, and Ming (Edison Chen), the big boss’s son. Edison is as inoffensive as possible here, thus making Ming a palatable, even compassionate, character. It also helps that Ming wants to be a pastry chef instead of an ad exec. Swoon. When he learns of Kuen’s impending single motherhood, he immediately offers her free room and board at his mansion, which she shamelessly accepts. Their relationship is purely platonic, however, which means Dina can chase Ming and preserve her friendship with Kuen.

But at some point, this caper is bound to implode, and when even Edison is put off by your bad behavior, you know you’ve crossed the line. The exuberance of Miss Yeung and Miss Chow is not enough to compensate for their characters’ misdeeds. As witness to their trail of manipulation, fraud, and assault, I found myself cheering more for these ladies to land in Stanley than to cleverly claw their way out of their own mess. If the filmmakers were aiming for a cynical yet humorous critique on Hong Kong’s working conditions, then Miriam Yeung, at this stage in her career, was not the most convincing casting choice.

Prod: Joe Ma Wai-Ho 馬偉豪; Ivy Kong Yuk-Yee 江玉儀
Dir: Joe Ma Wai-Ho 馬偉豪; Albert Mak Kai-Kwong 麥啟光
Writer: Joe Ma Wai-Ho 馬偉豪; Taures Chow Yin-Han 周燕嫻; Sunny Chan Wing-Sun 陳詠燊; Law Yiu-Fai 羅耀輝; So Bo-Ling 蘇寶玲
Cast: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah 楊千嬅; Edison Chen Koon-Hei 陳冠希; Niki Chow Lai-Kei 周麗琪; Pauline Yam Bo-Lam 任葆琳; Eileen Cha Siu-Yan 查小欣; Wyman Wong Wai-Man 黃偉文; Sammy Leung 森美; Hui Siu-Hung 許紹雄; Cheung Tat-Ming 張達明; Moses Chan Ho 陳豪
Time: 90 min
Lang: Cantonese
Reviewed: 2012