Review: OUR SISTER MAMBO (2015) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Review: OUR SISTER MAMBO (2015)

Strong cast and involving storyline helps overcome this otherwise forgettable slice-of-life dramedy.

Loosely adapted from a 1957 Hong Kong black-and-white classic OUR SISTER HEDY, this Singaporean remake is specially made to honour the Cathay's 80th anniversary celebration.


In this modern-day update, OUR SISTER MAMBO revolves around the daily life of the Wong family. Mr. Wong (Moses Lim) is a dedicated Cathay cinema manager and a loving husband to his K-drama obsessed wife (Audrey Luo), who works as a property agent. They have four daughters (Michelle Chong, Ethel Yap, Oon Shu An and Joey Leong), each with different personalities. At the heart of the story is the second daughter -- the titular Mambo (Michelle Chong) -- who decides to quit her highly-lucrative job at the law firm to pursue her dream career of becoming a chef.


Credit goes to the Malaysian-born and Taiwan-based filmmaker Ho Wi Ding, who brings a nice restraining quality in his direction. Michael Chiang's screenplay is both heartwarming and relatable that touches on universal theme such as family dynamics, as well as bold issue on interracial romance.

Thanks to the combination of multiple talents from different backgrounds, the colourful cast has definitely contributed a lot in this movie. Veteran actor Moses Lim, best known for his father-figure role in the popular TV sitcom Under One Roof, is perfectly typecast as a patriarch who has an encyclopedic knowledge of old Cathay movies. As the titular Mambo, Michelle Chong exudes genuine warmth and a subtle touch of down-to-earth persona to her headstrong character.

The rest of the three sister characters, including Ethel Yap, Oon Shu An and Malaysian-born Joey Leong, are all equally noteworthy with their respective roles. Even the smaller roles -- ranging from Siti Khalijah Zainal, Muhammad Mahfuz Mazlan, Rani Singam, Jonathan Leong to Nelson Chia and Shankara Ebi -- are each given ample opportunities to shine with their characters.

But the real scene stealer of this movie goes to Audrey Luo, who excels in her imperious mother role with a conservative mindset. On top of that, she also proves to be a natural comedian in deadpan humour.


The elaborate dinner scenes between the Wong family and two inviting guests (Nelson Chia and Shankara Ebi) in separate occasions.


If there's one major element that went missing, the movie provides little sense of true conflict within the four sisters' personal struggles. In fact, each of their situations are conveniently resolved in the utmost predictable manner.


It's far from a memorable effort, but OUR SISTER MAMBO remains sufficient enough as a worthwhile family comedy-drama that pays tribute to the Cathay classic of yesteryear.

* This review is written courtesy from Sony Pictures Malaysia press screening *

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