Full of crunch

Afdlin Shauki re­turns to form with Pa­padom2, a se­quel that’s even bet­ter than the orig­i­nal.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - Re­view by AIDIL RUSLI en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

IT’S hard be­ing a fan of Afdlin Shauki (in his film di­rec­tor ca­pac­ity) in the last few years. Afdlin, the co­me­dian and ac­tor, is still at the top of his game but af­ter a se­ries of cre­atively dis­ap­point­ing films like Mis­teri Jalan Lama, Be­rani Punya Bu­dak and Pon­tianak vs Orang Minyak, even a diehard fan like yours truly has started to get a bit jaded when­ever a new Afdlin film rolls into town.

Not be­ing that huge a fan of his hit film Pa­padom in 2009 – which not only scored RM3.4mil at the lo­cal box-of­fice but also won big at the 22nd Fes­ti­val Filem Malaysia – I didn’t have high hopes at all when news trick­led in that a se­quel was com­ing.

I’m glad I’ve been proven wrong.

In Pa­padam 2, the Afdlin Shauki that we all fell in love with, es­pe­cially with his early ef­forts like Buli and Baik Punya Cilok, has more or less re­turned.

That unique (and fluid) com­bi­na­tion of ab­sur­dist com­edy and warmth, which made those films spe­cial is un­doubt­edly back this time around.

To any­one not fa­mil­iar with the world of the Pa­padom films, they tell the story of sin­gle dad Saadom (Afdlin), who blames him­self for the death of his wife Mu­ni­rah (Noorkhiriah) and raises his daugh­ter Mia Sara (Liyana Jas­may) with so much love that it bor­ders on ob­ses­sion.

Pa­padom saw Mia mov­ing from Pe­nang to Kuala Lumpur to at­tend col­lege, which re­sulted in chronic sep­a­ra­tion is­sues for Saadom.

Pa­padom 2 sees Saadom deal­ing with things much bet­ter, with the able sup­port of his close friend and busi­ness part­ner Alan (Pete Teo, ramp­ing up the com­edy with his price­less fa­cial ex­pres­sions).

But those chronic sep­a­ra­tion is­sues re­turn with a vengeance when Saadom ac­ci­den­tally finds out that Mia is get­ting mar­ried to her mys­tery boyfriend.

Di­rec­tor Afdlin clev­erly con­ceals the iden­tity of this boyfriend, even go­ing so far as to hi­lar­i­ously put a chip­munk voice ef­fect when­ever Mia has a phone con­ver­sa­tion with him.

More comic turns abound when Saadom de­cides to make a sur­prise visit to Kuala Lumpur to find out who the mys­tery boyfriend is – un­der the pre­tense of sur­pris­ing Mia for her birth­day.

Mia, who was a mass com­mu­ni­ca­tions stu­dent in Pa­padom, is now a first as­sis­tant di­rec­tor on a film set.

The film mines even more comic gold in the form of artsy fartsy film di­rec­tor Jay Rah­man, played with en­vi­able comic aplomb by Khir Rah­man.

Else­where, walk­ing pea­cock/ lead­ing char­ac­ter Fazz Fi­uriuz (ged­dit?) - played by Riez­man Khuza­imi – is a blast to watch.

On screen, Riez­man is in his el­e­ment. He is vis­i­bly en­joy­ing play­ing the role of a self­ab­sorbed film star.

Adding to the trio of pos­si­ble can­di­dates for that mys­tery boyfriend is cam­era­man Qib, also very ably played by Hans Isaac.

The ping-pong ef­fect of mys­te­ri­ous boyfriends run­ning about – with their slap­stick an­tics and spot-on punch­lines – gives this film that added bite.

Such de­li­cious comic riches are also won­der­fully bal­anced by the lovely and touch­ing sub­plot in­volv­ing Saadom’s feel­ings for Pro­fes­sor Balqis (Vanidah Imran), who used to teach Mia in univer­sity.

Adding a bit of melo­drama to this sub­plot is the fact that Saadom seems to be suf­fer­ing from a ter­mi­nal ill­ness.

The poignancy that comes from whether he’ll get to see Mia mar­ried and whether he’ll ever be brave enough to open his heart to Pro­fes­sor Balqis will leave many in the cin­ema with a lump in their throat. Un­like the first film, Pa­padom 2 man­ages the bal­ance be­tween ab­surd hi­lar­ity and gooey sen­ti­men­tal­ity and this is what makes this film such a de­light. One par­tic­u­larly huge dif­fer­ence is the ease in which view­ers will ac­cept the “ghost” of Saadom’s dead wife Mu­ni­rah, which “ap­pears” in his imag­i­na­tion when­ever he needs a talk­ing to or sim­ply can’t seem to see what the right choice is.

It’s the kind of sur­real de­vice that just felt too jar­ring in the first film, but some­how it works here be­cause the right kind of tone is struck.

And, un­like the afore­men­tioned Afdlin mis­fires which also tried to shoot for the same kind of ef­fect, this one just plain works.

Wel­come back, Afdlin!

Hun­gry for laughs: Afdlin Shauki (Saadom), Ad­ham Malekh (Ali) and Pete Teo (Alan) in a scene from Pa­padom 2.

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